Assessing Balance: the equivalence of financial & creative contributions
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As noted above, the overarching principle of co-productions is that the creative and financial contributions of each co-producer are reasonably equivalent. While the financial contribution is easily identified, the creative contribution is assessed in different ways by the various Competent Authorities around the world.
Screen Australia measures the creative contribution of the Australian co-producer using both the proportion of expenditure on Australian elements and a points test of Australian personnel. We then compare these two measures against the Australian financial contribution to decide if they are reasonably equivalent. Basically, these three metrics must align.
The requirement is that the proportion of expenditure on Australian elements, and the proportion of Australian points (both expressed as a percentage) must not be more than five per cent below the Australian financial contribution.
Financial contribution must be reasonably equivalent to creative contribution.
So, if the Australian financial contribution is 60 per cent, the proportions of Australian expenditure and Australian points must each be no less than 55 per cent. The five per cent leeway is only applicable as a ‘floor’, so you could have your finance contribution at 60 per cent, your Australian spend at 65 per cent and your Australian points at 55 per cent.
Please note that even with the five per cent leeway allowed by Screen Australia, contributions must always be above the minimum required by the Arrangement (usually 20 per cent or 30 per cent, see Minimum contributions).
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Balance over time
As each Arrangement is intended to benefit the economies, industry personnel, film studios and laboratories of partner countries, each Arrangement requires a ‘balance over time’ of the financial and creative participation of partner countries.
We recognise that there is likely to be some imbalance in the participation rates of co-producers from partner countries on particular projects. However, over time the participation of the partner countries should be close to equal. The Competent Authorities in each country are required by the Arrangements to monitor the contributions of each partner country under each Arrangement – over many different productions – to ensure a balance over time.
Screen Australia regularly assesses the relative balance with Australia’s co-production partners and will notify industry if we consider there is problematic imbalance with any of our partners.