1. Partner country
Make sure there is an Arrangement in place with the country you’re interested in (see Partner countries). If so, read it. If there is not an Arrangement in place then you cannot make an official co-production.
You can make ‘multi-party’ co-productions between two or more other countries where there are Arrangements linking all co-producing countries together (see Multipartite co-productions).
2. Type of project
Establish whether the Arrangement covers your type of project – the Chinese-Australian arrangement, for example, only applies to feature films and telemovies (but not to series). Check the 'Meaning of film' provision in the Co-production Arrangements Tool
If you are seeking co-production status for interactive screen content such as games, please contact the POCU to discuss.
3. Research and advice
It's a good idea to liaise with fellow Australian producers who are experienced in making co-productions, particularly with the country you are considering. Check the lists of productions available through the Partner countries pages.
Once you start making contact with potential co-producers, they’ll also be able to tell you about the process from the point of view of their country’s Competent Authority.
We highly recommend that you seek the advice of a lawyer experienced with co-productions early in the process.
4. Producing partner
Your co-producer must be independent from you, as there can be no common management, ownership or control between the co-producers. The spirit of the co-production program is to facilitate and foster creative relationships between international producers. The program is all about fostering new relationships between producers operating independently in different countries.
It is not the intention of the program for multinational production companies to benefit from making a production with a related entity, for example with a subsidiary or parent company based in another country – such a project will not be considered a co-production.
Ensure your co-producer is aware of their Competent Authority’s guidelines and understands its terms of assessment and procedures.
5. Project details
Work out the key elements of the project that will affect its co-production status, such as the financial contributions of the co-producers, nationality of key creatives, budget and location of expenditure, and begin to draft an agreement with your producing partner. You should be aware of any contracted, non-negotiable elements as well as elements that aren’t yet contracted which could be adjusted if required.
6. Terms of the Arrangement
Consider whether your proposed project and agreement with your producing partner will meet the terms of the Arrangement and these guidelines. You can check the elements of your project using our interactive Co-production Eligibility Tool
You should have sought the advice of a lawyer experienced with co-productions by this stage.
7. Provisional application
Apply for provisional co-production approval as soon as you are able to demonstrate that you meet the requirements and, in any event, before pre-production commences.
If you would like Provisional Offset Certification (for example, if you need an assessment of the project’s estimated QAPE), you can apply for this at the same time.
Your co-producer will lodge their application to their Competent Authority at the same time.
8. Pre-production to production
As your project evolves, keep us informed of any changes that might affect your co-production status, such as changes of the nationality of personnel, or sources of finance. You can use the Co-production Eligibility Tool to help you monitor the likely effect of such changes, but note that the Tool does not take into account all of the requirements of the Arrangements, so you should consult with us before locking in any substantive changes.
9. Final application
This is lodged once your project is complete. See Final approval. Your co-producer will lodge an application to their Competent Authority at the same time.