UK-India co-production treaty finally gets greenlight

apu.jpgAfter three years of discussions that looked like they may never end, the UK-India film co-production agreement is finally set. Both governments have completed negotiations which began after Tessa Jowell signed the main body of the agreement in 2005. In recent, years more and more Indian films have used locations in the UK, with the new agreement allowing such producers to access UK tax relief - and other benefitis - on local production spending if eligible as a co-production.

Likewise numerous British filmmakers such as Alex Snelling, Ashwin Kumar and Arun Kumar have shot films in India in recent years, and will now be able to get Indian support when partnering with local companies. The Indian film industry is the most productive in the world, while 2.5 million Brits went to see Hindi films last year, with the market making up 16% of all realeases. 

As a direct result of the treaty the government expects that up to 10 UK-Indian co-productions will be made within the first two years. Indian films can qualify as British by meeting the requirements of one of the following: an official UK bilateral co-production treaty; the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production; or the Cultural Test.

As part of the introduction of the treaty, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) will run a series of workshops for Indian filmmakers who are interested in co-producing with the UK and making use of the treaty. The four UKTI workshops will aim to provide all those involved  – the national bodies, trade associations, individual production companies and professional advisers – with a better understanding of how the treaty will work and how potential co-producers can benefit from the same.

Press Release from the UK Film Council 

UK AND INDIAN FILM INDUSTRIES JOIN FORCES

London-12 May 2008: The UK and Indian Governments have successfully completed negotiations which will enable a UK-India film co-production agreement to come into force.
 
As part of this work, UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) will also run a series of workshops for Indian filmmakers who are interested in co-producing with the UK and making use of the treaty.
 
The treaty will enable UK and Indian filmmakers to work together to co-produce films that will be eligible for national status in both countries.
 
The agreement provides an economic incentive for filmmakers to work together because it provides access to benefits of national status for the film. As a direct result of the treaty it is expected that up to 10 UK-Indian co-productions will be made within the first two years.
 
The four UKTI workshops will aim to provide all stakeholders – the national bodies, trade associations, individual production companies and professional advisers – with a better understanding of how the treaty will work and how potential co-producers can benefit from the same.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Andy Burnham said:

“India and Britain both have vibrant film industries and bringing them together in this way opens the door to some exciting new collaborations. Our countries have close cultural and historical connections and it is great that our film industries will be able to work more closely together to develop this further."
 
John Woodward Chief Executive Officer of the UK Film Council said:
 
“The UK and Indian film industries are among the most influential in the world and the aim of the treaty is to build on the existing cultural ties and encourage greater collaboration.
 
“Aside from the clear economic benefits to filmmakers the treaty also aims to increase the diversity of filmmaking giving filmmakers the opportunity to tell new stories that reflect our shared history and culture.” 
 
Lord Digby Jones, UK Minister for Trade & Investment said:
 
“The UK and India have truly remarkable heritages in filmmaking and the UKTI workshops will bring together expertise from both. They will help forge relationships that will maximise the creative talent of UK and Indian filmmakers and give them the tools to enter into production partnerships.
 
“I am pleased that UKTI is taking practical steps to help kick start the UK-India film co-production agreement. The workshops will be the catalysts for the new financial and artistic opportunities that the agreement brings. Both countries can look forward to reaping the rewards – and l can’t wait to see the results on the big screen.”
 
In addition the treaty will also contribute significantly to the strengthening of the skills base in both India and the UK.
 
For more information contact:
Rachel Grant / Caroline Nagle
UK Film Council Press Office
T: 020 7861 7505 / 7508
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
 
Notes to Editors
 
The former Secretary of State Tessa Jowell and Shri P.R. Dasmunsi, Indian Minister of Information, signed the main body of the agreement in New Delhi on 5 December 2005.
Negotiations on the detailed annex to this agreement have now been completed by officials. The agreement will come into force shortly, once constitutional procedures have been completed in both countries.
The treaty with India will be the seventh of the UK’s bi-lateral co-production treaties; additionally the UK is signatory to the European Convention. Over 400 co-production films have been over the last 7 years, including over 140 minority UK co-productions, with an average UK expenditure of 35% which is worth over £1 billion to the economy.
4.      The four workshops are scheduled for June 2008, September 2008, November 2008 and February/March 2009.

In the UK alone more than 2.5 million people went to see Hindi films in 2005 and Indian film accounted for over 16% of all UK releases.

UK Trade & Investment is the lead government organisation providing support for UK companies looking to develop international business – and overseas companies wishing to invest in the UK. UKTI has a wide range of services, backed-up by a network of trade advisors worldwide offering financial and practical support. www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk 

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