South African and Australian film-makers now have an incentive to work together following the signing of a treaty between South Africa and Australia that will see co-productions being given "national treatment" by both countries.

Arts and Culture Minister Lulu Xingwana signed the film co-production agreement this week on behalf of the South African government, while Australian Minister for Sport, Youth, Early Childhood Education and Childcare Kate Ellis signed on behalf of the Australian government.

Tax benefits, easier immigration

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. In a statement this week, the Australian High Commission said that projects approved as official co-productions under the treaty would be granted "national treatment" by both countries.

This meant that co-producers would be able to 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. As part of the agreement, official co-productions would 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," said Ellis.

"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."

Pooling resources

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. 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 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 24 June.

Source: BuaNews