Press release from SPAA

The Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) has formed the SPAA Australia-China Screen Alliance to facilitate co-productions of film and television programs with producers in the People’s Republic of China. The Alliance is the inspiration of South Australian film producer Mario Andreacchio who recently produced the feature The Last Dragon in China to be released internationally including China in 2011. Mario Andreacchio will also be the Chairman of the Alliance, which will have a strong and open web presence. The Alliance is sending Andreacchio, SPAA Executive Director Geoff Brown and has invited AusFilm Chair and Managing Director of Deluxe Australia to Beijing to attend the first Australia-China Film Industry Forum from December 8 to 12.

The forum is an initiative of the Australian Embassy in Beijing as part of Imagine Australia, the Year of Australian Culture in China. The Embassy is working cooperatively with Screen Australia and China Film Bureau as the official government partners, with China Film Co-Production Corporation as the forum co-host and Beijing Film Academy as the academic program partner.

The new Screen Alliance will provide an advisory and introductory service to producers wishing to co-produce with Chinese based producers, providing resources, direct consultations as well as a forum base for dialogue and exchange of information. Drawing on the experience of Andreacchio and other SPAA members who have worked in China, the Alliance will assist producers to navigate through the Chinese bureaucratic and cultural processes.

Andreacchio encountered enthusiasm for the Alliance on a recent trip to China. Inspired by the idea of a Screen Alliance, the Xi'an Qujiang Film and TV Investment Group executed an MOU to establish their own Screen Alliance. Encouraged by this, SPAA intends for the Australia-based Alliance to eventually partner with other China-based alliances to work together and act as conduits for producers in both countries.

“In Xi'an alone they have over 300 film production companies, many of which are wanting to do co-production with Australia now. This is typical of the potential in the film-making industry that exists in provinces and regions around China,” Andreacchio said.

SPAA Executive Director Brown said that the Chinese appetite for international co-production is growing rapidly along with the economy. “The box office for this year has increased 61%, and there is still 2 months to go. This year's box office gross may close at US $1.6 billion, and is expected to get to $4.5 billion in the next 5 years.

We are one of the first countries to be making such a serious effort on co-productions with China, which means we have a head start. I believe we have about a 3 year window before it becomes a massively competitive field with other countries,” said Brown.

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