U.K., India ink co-production agreement

Bollywood stars, U.K. films minister announce treaty

LONDON -- The U.K. and India trumpeted the launch of a bilateral co-production treaty between the two countries Wednesday, which will give producers access to tax breaks, fresh funding sources and practical support.

The agreement between India and the U.K. aims to bolster producer relationships between the two nations and mirrors agreements the Brits have with other territories, including Canada, Australia and South Africa.

U.K. government films minister Barbara Follett and Bollywood stars including Salman Khan and Ajay Devgan gathered Wednesday at the central London location shoot for Vipul Shah's "London Dreams" to announce the treaty.

"Any Indian filmmaker who wants to collaborate with a British producer will find it more financially worthwhile. We can also offer a mature production infrastructure and share expertise between the two countries' film industries," Follett said.

Without the treaty, U.K.-Indian co-productions would have to pass the U.K. cultural test to qualify for tax credits here but the treaty allows co-produced films to bypass this test.

This means they are granted national status in both countries and can gain access to the U.K. tax relief system.

The treaty with India is the seventh of the U.K.'s bilateral co-production treaties.

Wednesday was a busy day for film and politics here as the freshly elected London Mayor Boris Johnson met with representatives from the film biz to pledge the capital's ongoing support of moviemaking at a self-proclaimed "summit meeting."

Producers including Andrew Macdonald and Tim Bevan and filmmakers Gurindha Chadha and Michael Winterbottom rocked up to the mayor's London HQ to hear his pledge to government-backed agency Film London.

"My job is to help keep it that way, and I'm determined that this film summit will signal the start of a highly productive relationship with a sector that has brought income, jobs and a lot of pleasure to London," Johnson said.