EmptyTreaties: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, France, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland
Recent projects: "Mammoth" (Denmark-Germany-Sweden), "The Three Investigators and the Secret of Skeleton Island" (Germany-South Africa), "Waltz With Bashir" (France-Germany-Israel)
In addition to its long list of bi-national treaties, Germany is also a signatory to the Pan-European treaty of 1992, which gives bilateral subsidy benefits to co-productions between any two EU countries.
Germany's first agreement with a non-European country was made with Israel in 1971, and it has proved to be among the most productive. Some of the Israel-Germany co-productions to benefit from the treaty include Eran Riklis' critically acclaimed "Lemon Tree" and Ari Folman's groundbreaking animated documentary "Waltz With Bashir."
"Some treaties don't really get used; they are just political gestures. But with Israel it has really made a difference," says Birgit Horion-Vogel of the German Ministry of Culture and the Media. "Co-productions with South Africa, which has attractive tax breaks for filmmakers, have also been very popular since we signed a treaty with them (in 2004)."
A recent example of the Germany-South Africa co-productions is Studio Hamburg's new children's film franchise "The Three Investigators." The films' original California locations were relocated to Cape Town, allowing producers to take advantage of both the bilateral treaty and South Africa's generous tax incentives.
Germany continues to push for more international co-productions and has new treaties in the works with Argentina, Ireland, Poland and Russia.
The country is also looking to increase cooperation by lowering the barriers to allow certain projects to be certified as co-productions even if the German contribution is just 10% of the total budget. The proposal is targeting German co-productions with longstanding treaty partners such as France, Austria and Switzerland.
-- Scott Roxborough
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