Portugal signs co-production agreements with Morocco and Israel
by Teresa Vieira
- The two agreements will give approved co-productions the status of “national works” in the countries involved, and a minimum 20% investment is required from each co-producer
In the spirit of developing and enhancing film and audiovisual productions, as well as fostering international technological and cultural ties, the Portuguese government has signed two co-production agreements: one with Morocco and another with the state of Israel.
The Morocco Film and Audiovisual Coproduction Agreement is a two-year accord that will enable the selected productions to be considered as “national works” by the authorities of both countries, thus providing them with the advantages that this categorisation may bring, according to the domestic film industry legislation in each country. The works – be they films or audiovisual/television projects – will be selected by the competent Moroccan and Portuguese authorities: the Centre Cinématographique Marocain (CCM) and the Portuguese Cinema and Audiovisual Institute (ICA). This agreement will encompass cinematic works of any genre and duration, as well as independent audiovisual productions, except those in the “soap opera” genre. In order to evaluate the pieces that will be selected to form part of this agreement – as well as to gauge the progress of the selected works – a Mixed Audiovisual and Cinematic Commission will be created by the ICA and the CCM, which will gather once per year, alternating between Portuguese and Moroccan venues.
As a co-production agreement, it requires the submitted works to involve producers from Morocco and Portugal, in a ratio that can vary anywhere between 20% and 80%. This will not only encompass the monetary involvement of the producers, but also – and most importantly – the technical and artistic involvement, which will have to be proportional to the investment that has been made. The works should be made by directors, technical crew members and artists who are from either Portugal or Morocco, or who live in said countries. Also, the ICA and the CCM shall make an effort to create jobs and internships, and run seminars in order to improve the technical abilities of the audiovisual and film professionals who may be involved. The final works will have to be presented as “Moroccan-Portuguese co-productions” or “Portuguese-Moroccan co-productions”: the country order will be based on the investment made by the co-producers. In the case of an equal contribution, the nationality of the director will come first in the country order.
Besides the production aspects, the agreement also takes into account the distribution and export side of things. One of the agreed measures – given that both countries need to contribute to facilitating the distribution and promotion of these works – is the creation of the “Week of Moroccan Cinema” in Portugal and the “Week of Portuguese Cinema” in Morocco, at which the works that were produced, as well as some of the professionals involved, will have an active presence.
On the other hand, the Agreement on Film Production between Portugal and the State of Israel has also been approved. This covers cinematic works, regardless of genre and duration, which involve co-producers from Israel and Portugal. Again, the countries’ contribution to the co-produced film can vary between 20% and 80%. Similarly to the Moroccan agreement, this contribution entails technical and creative input that is proportional to the financial investment made. The competent authorities for the implementation of this agreement are the Ministry of Culture and Sport (or a representative) from Israel, and the Portuguese Cinema and Audiovisual Institute. These authorities will be responsible not only for implementing the agreement, but also for selecting the films to be considered, as well as evaluating the fulfilment of the agreement’s requirements during the production and distribution process. To this end, they may establish a joint commission, with an equal representation from both countries. The co-productions created in pursuance of this agreement will be considered as “national films” in both countries, and will thus be subject to the domestic legislation of each country as well as being entitled to all the benefits that each domestic film industry may provide. The directors, technical crew members and scriptwriters should be citizens of – or permanent residents in – Israel or Portugal, and the producers involved should not have links with both countries.
The films shall be made, processed, dubbed and/or subtitled in the countries involved in the agreement, and shooting on location, dubbing and subtitling may only occur in a non-participating country if the competent authorities approve it, and if there are reasonable grounds for it to happen. The co-produced films will be identified as “Israeli-Portuguese” or “Portuguese-Israeli” co-productions, and the country order will depend on the majority co-producer. In terms of distribution, if the film is marketed in a country that has quota-related regulations concerning both countries, it will be included in the quota of the country of the majority co-producer. If it is marketed in a country without a quota for one of the countries involved, it shall be promoted by the one not subject to a quota. Each country will have to handle the marketing and export process in accordance with the status of any other domestic production. This co-production agreement will be active for a period of five years.
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