China Signs Official TV Co-Production Treaty with New Zealand

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Chinese President Xi Jinping

National agency the New Zealand Film Commission also announced a new fund for financing official feature film co-productions

New Zealand and China on Thursday signed what’s said to be a worlds first television co-production treaty, that aims to build on the existing New Zealand-China Film Co-Production Agreement, signed in 2010.

The official agreement was signed in Wellington, New Zealand by Minister Hon Cai Fuchao from the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of the People's Republic of China (SAPPRFT) and New Zealand’s Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Maggie Barry.

At the same time NZ’s film and TV agency responsible for administering the treaties, the New Zealand Film Commission, announced it was establishing a $785,000, (NZ$1 million) film finance fund, the China Co-Production Production fund, which will provide financing for one or more official feature film co-productions with China.  The fund augments the China Co-Production Development fund established earlier this year.

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Despite the signing of the film treaty in 2010, no feature film co-productions has yet been made. Kids fantasy adventure The Wonder 3D, currently in preproduction, is set to be the first official China-NZ coproduction. Paul Lin’s Beijing-based Show & Share Entertainment Investments is an investor/producer on the film, alongside Iron Films and Friendship Films.

NZFC CEO Dave Gibson said "the China development fund has been used to develop a couple of feature films, and we are optimistic."

Chinese president Xi Jinping said the new treaty would help strengthen cultural ties between the two countries.

“New Zealand is a popular filming location for more and more Chinese TV and film producers. The natural beauty of its landscape and the sincerity and kindness of its people have left the Chinese audience with very fond impressions .... This (TV) agreement, once signed, will inject new vitality into the cultural and people-to-people exchanges between China and New Zealand,” the president said during a visit to NZ on Tuesday.

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NZ’s Screentime was the producer on two episodes of Chinese TV series, Dad, Where Are We Going?, shot in NZ in August.

In the hope of kick-starting co-productions between the two nations, an official delegation of NZ producers will travel to Guangdong, Shanghai and Beijing at the end of November.

Factual producers NHNZ will be part of the delegation.

 “We’ve been collaborating with China for decades but haven’t had access to all the benefits that treaty-based co-production brings until now.  We’re really excited to see NHNZ’s relationship with China deepen – the launch of the feature film co-production fund and the delegation’s visit next month really couldn’t be better timed for us,” NHNZ general manager, John Crawford said.

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