China, India Close to Signing Film Co-Production Treaty (Report)

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The world's two most populous nations are nearing an agreement to bring their film industries closer together.

India and China are close to finalizing a film co-production treaty, local Indian media outlets reported Tuesday. The Hindu newspaper quoted an unnamed senior official close to the talks as saying that a treaty “is in the final stages” and is awaiting approval from India's Ministry of External Affairs.
India and China began serious discussions on film cooperation during last summer's first-ever Chinese Film Festival held in New Delhi, which was kicked off by special guest Jackie Chan, whose Chinese Zodiac was the festival's opening film. The Chinese delegation was led by the Minister of State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), Cai Fuchao who met Indian Information and Broadcasting Minister, Manish Tewary. The interaction between senior officials from both countries included setting up a joint working group for film and television cooperation.

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With 2014 branded by both nations as the “Year of Exchanges” between India and China, this year's International Film Festival of India held in Goa will accord China the status of Principle Guest Country.

The details of the planned co-production agreement haven't been disclosed.

India has signed co-production treaties with numerous countries, including France, Germany, Brazil, the U.K., Italy, New Zealand, Poland and Spain, among others. India is also in discussions with Australia and Canada. In December, China signed a landmark co-production treaty with the U.K. 

At the ongoing Berlinale, the leader of the Indian delegation, Information and Broadcasting Secretary, Bimal Julka, said that India's co-production treaties are unique, because of the depth and history of the Indian industry, "offering multiple benefits to foreign film producers.... namely, technically qualified manpower, a pool of talented actors and a multitude of shooting locations.”

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A ministry statement added that “the broad framework of outlining such agreements had been shared with a number of countries.”

At the Berlinale, Julka has also been promoting India's recently announced Single Window Clearance system, which aims to easily facilitate foreign film shoots in the country. The development of a dedicated website to streamline the service is being discussed.