Canada, India Negotiate Official Co-Production Agreement

Canadian and Bollywood producers to pact on film and TV production.

OTTAWA -- Bollywood song and dance sequence shoots may soon fill local sound-stages after Canada and India began haggling over details for an official film and TV co-production agreement between the two countries.

"We are negotiating. I haven't seen a text. But we certainly are negotiating," James Moore, federal minister of heritage, said Thursday in Ottawa.

Canadian filmmakers routinely shoot films in India, and large Indo-Canadian communities in Vancouver and Toronto are considered key overseas markets for Bollywood. Moore said Canada is at long last negotiating a co-production agreement with India because of Bollywood and its populous market.

"They (Bollywood) see Canada as a great export market, and we see Canada as a source of great talent that can be a part of the production of some great films," the minister said.

Canada is looking for direction in its current negotiations with New Delhi to India and Britain concluding an official co-production treaty in 2008, and India and France more recently signed their own co-production pact.

Besides allowing Canadian and Indian producers to share the costs and risks of film and TV production, an official co-production agreement will enable Canadian producers to more easily secure visas for their cast and crew, and access local tax rebates. Canadian officials also look at Indian media giants like Reliance Big Entertainment partnering with U.S. and other foreign producers on major projects, and want to grab their share of Indian financing for Canada.