Co-productions now more of a win, according to Screen Australia

06 October, 2010 by IF

By Sam Dallas

The revised co-production guidelines are now “significantly more flexible” and “more user-friendly”, Screen Australia says.


“[They] provide Australian producers – within the terms of our treaties – with an increased ability to become involved in international treaty co-productions,” a statement on the agency’s website says.

“The guidelines themselves are more user-friendly and provide more context to the rules they set out, including summaries of the key differences between the various treaties and MOUs [memorandum of understandings] that Australia is party to, as well as contact details for industry guilds and competent authorities.”

Under the new guidelines, which were released yesterday, a writer from outside the co-producing partner countries may contribute to a screenplay.

This had previously not been the case and it made the project “ineligible” for co-production status.

Furthermore, “the points test used to assess the Australian creative contribution” has been revised.

“The total number of points has been increased (now 15 for drama, 13 for animation and 10 for documentaries) which recognises the creative contribution of Heads of Department which were not previously allocated points (such as VFX Supervisor, Costumer Designer and Sound Designer),” the website says.

“Further, although some key roles must be included in the test, there are now some discretionary points which allow the Australian co-producer flexibility in identifying which other roles should be counted.”

And finally a non-binding letter of preliminary compliance has been introduced, allowing Aussie co-producers a chance to see whether their project meets the criteria.

International co-productions – such as The Tree – are considered a way of the future, due to securing more funding, more talent and more of a global audience.

Screen Australia’s Head of Strategy and Operations Fiona Cameron said the benefits of working with Australians included access to a unique talent pool and the legislated certainty of the Producer Offset tax rebate.

“We have deliberately revised our guidelines for official co-productions with the objective of being more flexible to encourage more production," she said in a statement.

“Australia has a world-class screen production industry and we don’t want to be hiding it under a bushel."

The new guidelines were released following a review launched late last year.

To download the document, click here.