[co-author: Rebecca Rosen - Law Clerk]
On October 26, 2015, the Netherlands Film Fund and China Film Co-production Corporation brokered a co-production agreement between China and the Netherlands. Both countries are looking forward to the benefits from their new arrangement, but what does this mean for the rest of the world?
What Are Co-Production Deals?
A co-production treaty is a contract by which two countries agree to work together to create and distribute films; however, the agreement is more than just a sign of friendship. Qualifying films are considered national content in each of the participating countries. As a result, those films are eligible for tax credits and financial incentives offered by each of the co-production countries.
Co-production agreements tend to be similar in scope, but the specific requirements may vary from deal to deal. For this agreement, the technical and artistic contributions of each co-producer must be comparable with their financial contributions to the film. Each co-producer must contribute at least 10 percent¾but not more than 90 percent¾of the total production costs. The China Film Co-production Corporation and the Netherlands Film Fund will determine whether the films meet the co-production requirements.
Both the Netherlands and China stand to profit from the arrangement. Like all co-production arrangements, this deal promotes a cultural and technical exchange between the two countries, and it also allows each country to take advantage of the other’s film production incentives.
However, one aspect of the deal is unique to Chinese co-production arrangements. China has the second largest filmgoing market in the world. At the same time, China heavily guards which foreign films can enter that market. The films created out of this co-production arrangement are exempted from China’s foreign film quotas, thereby allowing the Netherlands to access a significant and growing film market.
What Types of Films Will Come out of This Co-production Arrangement?
While any genre can qualify under the treaty, keep an eye out for Dutch-Sino documentaries and Dutch-Sino children’s films. During their negotiations, Chinese filmmakers expressed a strong interest in learning about and developing films in these genres. Doreen Boonekamp, CEO of the Netherlands Film Fund, has expressed great enthusiasm for these joint projects.