- You can browse the International Co-production Program Guidelines through these pages using the menu, or download as a PDF from the Document library.
General rule and exceptions
Each Arrangement specifies that every person participating in the making of the project must be a national or permanent resident of one of the co-producing countries.
Cast and crew from countries other than the co-producing countries are referred to as ‘non-party nationals’. Non-party nationals can only be involved in specified limited circumstances as outlined in the relevant Arrangement and with the agreement of the Competent Authorities. In summary, these exceptions are as follows:
- Cast – in exceptional circumstances, where script or financing dictates. Applicants will need to justify that the script or the financial arrangements require the non-party actor.
Where the use of a non-party actor has been approved, we would also consider it reasonable that a non-party casting agent be approved. Further, we also allow any ‘entourage’ who are non-party nationals where they are a contractual requirement of the cast member.
- Locals on location shoots – if location shooting outside the co-producing country is approved (see Location of production), some specified personnel (as outlined in the Arrangement) may be engaged in the location country, and
- Technical personnel – in some Arrangements, technical personnel that are not available from the co-producing countries may be engaged.
Further, an executive producer on a co-production is not considered to be part of the making of the project as their role is usually financial, not creative, which means you can have non-party executive producer/s on your project. Obviously, this does not apply if ‘Executive Producer’ is the credit given to the creative producer, as is the case with some television projects.
Ensure you check the relevant Arrangement for details, and be aware that the use of any non-party nationals outside the exceptions specifically set out in the Arrangement will mean the project will be ineligible as a co-production. We strongly recommend that you liaise with the POCU before making any decisions about the use of non-party nationals or non-party elements, and remember, approval must be given by all Competent Authorities.
You need to take a number of issues into account when considering the nationality of personnel for co-productions:
Where a person holds nationalities of both co-production countries (i.e. dual citizenship), that person must be consistently treated as one or the other nationality, but cannot be both. For example, when a writer/director is a national of both co-producing countries, the co-producers cannot seek to have the person considered to be one nationality as the writer, and the other as the director in order to ‘balance’ the project. The writer/director must be consistently considered to be of one nationality.
In the case of all Arrangements with European Union (EU) countries, nationals of any EU country are considered to be nationals of the co-producing country. As a result, in the case of an Australian co-production with France, Germany, Ireland, Italy or the UK, any EU nationals may take part in the making of the project. For example, if you’re making a German-Australian co-production, you can safely hire a Spanish gaffer and a Belgian editor as these crew members would be considered ‘German’ for the purposes of the co-production, and for the purposes of the points and spend tests, will be counted as German.
Australians and New Zealanders
Due to the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement, New Zealand citizens and permanent residents are considered to be Australian citizens or permanent residents for the purposes of the co-production program (and vice-versa). This means that New Zealand nationals can safely be contracted onto any Australian co-production and for the purposes of the points and spend tests, will be counted as Australian.
The exception to this is New Zealand-Australian co-productions. In this case, the actual nationality of the participants – either Australian or New Zealand – is what’s used for the points and expenditure tests.
Note, however, that when determining the amount of Qualifying Australian Production Expenditure (QAPE) for Producer Offset purposes, New Zealand nationals are treated as non-Australians.