More flexibility for co-productions

Screen Australia released draft guidelines for co-productions, in an attempt to be more flexible and give screen practitioners a better chance of working with international partners.

The changes include contributions from writers outside the co-producing partner countries, a revision of the points test, and the introduction of a non-binding letter of preliminary compliance for producers.

The administration of the co-production program will be undertaken by a combined Producer Offset and Co-production unit.

The major changes are:

  • The ability, subject to the terms of the relevant treaty, for a writer from outside the co-producing partner countries to contribute to a screenplay as long they are not a credited writer of the screenplay. Current guidelines make a project ineligible if a non-party writer has worked on the script in any way.
  • A revision of the points test. The total number of points has been increased, and up to five points (four for documentaries) are discretionary points, and can be allocated based on the roles most appropriate to the particular production. This change establishes recognition of the contribution of creatives who are not allocated points under the current points test such as VFX and sound designers.  It will also allow the nationality of the source material to be taken into account if the producer so chooses.
  • The provision for Australian co-producers, prior to securing finance, to apply to Screen Australia for a non-binding letter of preliminary compliance. The producer will be able to present this letter to financiers to indicate that the project is on the right track to be approved as a co-production. The introduction of the letter of preliminary compliance is intended to address some of the concerns raised in Screen Australia’s review regarding financier caution around committing funds before receiving formal advice regarding a project’s co-production status.

The draft can be found here.

Screen Australia will receive comments until June 25, at After this consultation phase, the guidelines are expected to come into effect in early July 2010.


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