U.K., Morocco sign co-production treaty

Deal will bring tax breaks, funding sources and practical help

LONDON -- The potential for collaborations between U.K. and Moroccan filmmakers was boosted Monday after the two countries signed a co-production treaty.

The deal between the two nations will mean tax breaks, funding sources and practical help are all on tap for producers to access.

Morocco is already a major location for British filmmakers offering desert locations and other backdrops unavailable in Europe. Movies with British participation shooting there in the last few months have included Paul Greengrass's "The Green Zone" from Working Title and the Disney-backed "Prince of Persia."

"Morocco has been a popular location for filmmakers for many years. But until now there have been few benefits for U.K. and Moroccan producers working together on projects," said Film Minister Sion Simon. "Without the co-production structure, films that are shot in Morocco would not have the incentive to use the U.K.'s post-production skill and facilities, for example."

The agreement changes that and aims to provide a much-needed fillip to the co-production sector in the U.K. which has been hard hit in recent months.

U.K. Film Council chief executive John Woodward said: "Anything that makes it easier for British film-makers to work with their counterparts in other countries is welcome and this agreement is a good way of helping to continue to build and sustain the film industries in both countries."

Benefits available to co-productions with Morocco include providing an incentive to film-makers to use U.K. post-production facilities for films shot in Morocco and laying the groundwork for U.K. films to access distribution networks in Morocco and further afield in North Africa.

The U.K.-Moroccan co-production treaty was signed here and is expected to come into force in the first half of 2010, after it has been formally ratified by the Moroccan Government.