U.K., Morocco on road to co-production

Films will be eligible for national status

LONDON -- U.K. and Moroccan government officials have completed negotiations on a co-production agreement between the two countries, the parties said Tuesday.

The negotiations, ongoing for more than a year, will mean movies made with producers from each country will be able to register for national status and benefit from any subsidies or tax benefits on offer in both countries.

U.K. Culture Minister Barbara Follett said that "Black Hawk Down" and "Troy" represented two recent titles made with U.K. and Moroccan elements which would have benefited if such a treaty had existed at the time of production.

"This agreement will give filmmakers an economic incentive to work together and build on that legacy, by giving them access to the benefits available in both countries," Follett said. "As Morocco continues to be a hot location for filmmakers, this further strengthening of our cultural ties can only be a good thing."

U.K. Film Council CEO John Woodward said that the signing of the treaty will be a "really exciting opportunity for Moroccan and British filmmakers, artists and technicians to work together and to share stories by allowing them to share financial resources and to get films made."

Benefits of a co-production agreement with Morocco include giving filmmakers access to sources of funding and support in both countries while providing an incentive to filmmakers to use U.K. postproduction facilities for films shot in Morocco.

The U.K. Moroccan co-production pact is expected to come into force in the first half of 2009.