A ‘three-way co-production’ refers to content produced jointly by an Australian co-producer, a co-producer from one of Australia’s co-production partner countries, and a third co-producer from a country that has a co-production arrangement either with Australia or the other partner country.
For example, the feature film At World’s End (2008/09) was a three-way co-production between Australia, Germany and Denmark. While Australia does not currently have a co-production arrangement in place with Denmark, Germany has arrangements with both Australia and Denmark, so the project qualified as a three-way co-production, with Germany as the 'pivot' country.
Three-way co-productions can ease the financial burden on participants by enabling costs to be split three ways rather than two. However, they can also add extra complexity, with three sets of guidelines to satisfy, three countries’ market requirements to be met, and (potentially) three different currencies to be factored.
While only 10 of Australia’s 171 co-productions to date have been made as three-ways, it is much more common for European projects to be made with three (or more) participating countries.
Three-way co-productions to date include:
- At World’s End, feature (Australia/Germany/Denmark),
- The Children of the Silk Road, feature (Australia/Germany/China),
- Deepwater Haven, TV drama (Australia/France/New Zealand),
- Iron Sky, feature (Australia/Germany/Finland),
- Jar Dwellers SOS, animation (Australia/Canada/Colombia),
- Life, feature (Australia/Germany/Canada),
- Lore, feature (Australia/Germany/UK),
- Map of the Human Heart, feature (Australia/Canada/UK),
- On My Own, feature (Australia/Canada/Italy),
- Zigby, animation (Australia/Canada/Singapore).
The European model
Funding and support from the 47-member Council of Europe has resulted in a high propensity for international co-productions between European partners. The council has implemented two initiatives designed to foster diplomatic harmony, cultural exchange and economic development via co-productions:
Source: Screen Australia.