South Africa: State, Australia Sign Film Co-Production Agreement

South African and Australian film-makers will now have an opportunity to work together following the signing of a film co-production treaty between the governments of South Africa and Australia. Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana signed the agreement on behalf of the South African government while Kate Ellis MP, Australian Minister for Sport, Youth, Early Childhood Education and Childcare, signed on behalf of the Australian government. The agreement aims to encourage film co-productions between Australian and South African film-makers by streamlining some of the administrative and funding issues around cooperation in film-making. Practical benefits for film-makers are that projects approved as official co-productions under the treaty will be granted 'national treatment' by both countries meaning co-producers can access a range of funding and tax benefits, simplified immigration requirements for the entry of skilled personnel, and duty free importation of equipment for use in co-productions the Australian High Commission said in a statement. As part of the agreement, official co-productions will also be treated as 'local content' under domestic television broadcast quotas. "This film co-production agreement is a further example of the growing bilateral relationship between Australia and South Africa. "Our two countries have long competed and cooperated in the sporting arena and I am delighted to see our connections are expanding in the cultural sphere as well," said Ellis. The agreement, once approved through each country's respective parliamentary processes, will provide opportunities for Australian and South African film-makers to pool their creative and financial resources, facilitate cultural and creative exchange between the countries and increase the output of high-quality productions. Australian and South African film-makers already are working together to great effect. An example of this is the Australian South African joint production, The Team that Never Played, a film about apartheid era football players that never participated in the FIFA World Cup owing to sporting sanctions. The Team that Never Played will premiere in South Africa at the official opening of the Africa on Screen and Soccer Film festivals on Thursday 24 June.