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First principles

What is a co-production?

Under the International Co-production Program, a co-production is a project which has been made under an Arrangement with a partner country, and has been approved as an official co-production by the Competent Authority in each country.

Australian producers can make a co-production with producers from:

These are the countries with which Australia has entered into an Arrangement.

The basic requirement of each Arrangement is that each co-producer must bring a minimum percentage of the financial and creative contribution to the project, and further, these two elements need to be ‘reasonably in proportion’. For example, if you demonstrate a 40 per cent creative contribution to the project, you would also have to contribute 40 per cent of the finance.

There are no requirements that a project be about, or set in, any particular place. Subject matter and setting are irrelevant to co-productions.

Each Competent Authority has its own procedures and guidelines to assess whether the terms of the Arrangements are satisfied.

You can explore the terms of Australia’s Arrangements using our interactive Co-production Arrangements Tool.

What about countries that don’t have Arrangements with Australia?

Official co-productions can only be made where Arrangements are in place between the countries.

In Australia, the negotiation of Arrangements is managed by the Australian Government’s Department of Communications and the Arts. The status of current negotiations is outlined on the Screen Australia website. Any requests for the Government to pursue new Arrangements with other countries must be made to the Department, addressing the Department’s Guidelines for Entering New Co-production Arrangements.

Entering a new Arrangement is not a simple matter, however, as the negotiation itself is a very long process for Government and there are a number of issues to take into account before even considering whether to initiate negotiations.

You should not assume that an Arrangement would be put in place on the basis of a single proposed film alone.

There is no Arrangement with the US. However, as with any ‘non-party’ countries, you could still access US finance for an official co-production, as long as this is not conditional on the inclusion of a US producer. Generally speaking, the involvement of non-party countries, including the US, is limited to finance, executive producers, cast agreed to by the Competent Authorities, and sourcing underlying work.

It’s also worth remembering that you can collaborate with an international producer from any country, including the US, without having to be approved as a co-production. In this case, you would be able to access the Producer Offset if the project met the Significant Australian Content test.

Why make a Co-Production? Find out here