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Treaties promise to open overseas door for UK film industry

Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell today opened the door to a whole new world for the UK's film industry by inviting South Africa, China, India, Jamaica and Morocco to share their expertise and talent for film making with the UK.
Negotiations will begin to develop treaties with each of these five countries which will allow film makers to work together to produce films which will benefit all the countries involved and will guarantee home grown talent is promoted on a world wide stage.
Co-produced films are vitally important to the expansion of the UK film industry and to the UK economy. In 2004, the UK film industry co-produced 83 films - worth £142 million. Existing treaties with Europe and countries including Australia, New Zealand and Canada have spawned several box office hits.
Following a meeting with the South African Minister for Arts and Culture, Pallo Jordan, the Ministers signed a statement of intent to get the negotiations underway.
Jowell said: "Movie making has always been a global business. This is true now more than ever. Pooling talent and expertise is increasingly important to enable all those involved in the film industry to compete on a world stage.
"More than 27 million South Africans went to the cinema in 2003. In 2001 India made more than 1,000 films - making it the world's largest feature film producer. And with a population of over a billion in China it makes sense to tap into this market.
"The real negotiations start now, but if we get these treaties right it will be the perfect deal - both sides win and the consumer gets to enjoy a better, more diverse product."
The UK is currently signed up to seven bilateral Agreements (with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Norway), and the European Convention on Co-production.
The Head of the UK Film Council's International Department, Steve Norris, said: "This is major step forward for the UK's strategy for building partnerships within the international film community. With these treaties in place, the British public will have the chance to see more British films with real international flavour and the industry will reap the cultural and economic benefits of producing a whole new set of films with new partners."
The agreements enable film producers meeting the requirements of the Agreement to qualify for a British film certificate.
Qualification means they are eligible to apply for tax relief on 100% of the certified spend on the film.
The negotiations on treaty structures are expected to take place over the next 18 months.
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