Co-productions, tricky for Australians

Although co-productions are “tricky”, producer Liz Watts says she is confident that her new project Amnesia, set for a Johannesburg shoot, will be made with “great partners”.

“There is not an official treaty yet, but it is supposedly next on the list, and there is still opportunity -if the treaty isn’t finalised once we’ve financed- to do the production under a MoU,” Watts told Encore.

The producer is working on Amnesia, a project that was accepted into this year’s Aurora script development program. Set in contemporary Johannesburg, Amnesia tells the story of a white Jewish family and the people who work for them grasping for clarity in a society of confused morals, uncertain emotions and violence.

“[Writer/director] Tony Krawitz lived in South Africa until he was about 18 years, and he has written this story based around a teenager and his family in Johannesburg. The Australian elements in the film are Tony and myself, the post-production in Sydney, and maybe some cast members.

“As for the South African element, there will be local finance sourced through a partner production company. At this stage, I can’t confirm who that is, but we have been talking and researching this film over the past three or four years, so we have some great partners in mind,” explained Watts.

According to Watts, every country has different financing systems, and Europeans are particularly good at working with co-production structures because they understand the rebate systems across the continent and work their finance plans through “well-oiled” pathways.

“It’s tricky with the Australian end as we tend to need everything on paper in totality before production – and when you’re dealing with rebates as we will be in South Africa, there is a great deal of trust that goes on with your partners in the production – as they have to show cashflow of these rebates that won’t be paid on delivery. Always tricky. but we feel pretty confident we can work it all out!!” said Watts.


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