U.K., South Africa Sign TV Co-Production Treaty

'The Salvation,' Kristian Levring (Un Certain Regard Midnight Screening)
Courtesy of Festival de Cannes

This Danish Western -- shot in South Africa -- features Scandi star Mads Mikkelsen (of Hannibal fame) as a gentle man forced to take bloody revenge. The genre period piece seems worlds away for Levring, one of the founders of Denmark’s back-to-basics Dogme 95 movement and the director of the Dogme classic The King Is Alive (2000). (Sales: Trust Nordisk)

The agreement, which builds on an existing film pact, strives to "encourage the sharing of knowledge and ideas and drive economic growth through television co-production."

The U.K. and South Africa have signed a television co-production agreement designed to "strengthen ties within the broadcast industries, encourage the sharing of knowledge and ideas and drive economic growth through television co-production."

The pact, unveiled Thursday, builds on an existing film co-production treaty between the countries and was negotiated by Britain's Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the British Film Institute and South Africa's Department for Arts and Culture.

Television co-productions that qualify under the terms of the treaty will be able to access the benefits of homegrown productions in each nation. In South Africa, these include a higher-rate production rebate. In the U.K., co-productions will be able to access Britain's High-End Television Tax Relief, the Animation Television Tax Relief or the Children’s Television Tax Relief.

British-South African features that have qualified under the film co-production treaty include The Salvation, starring Mads Mikkelsen and Eva Green; Africa United; Tiger House; and Dredd 3D, starring Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby.

“British television production is a tremendous success story, but we need to make sure the U.K. remains well placed to take advantage of the opportunities that come through international collaboration," said U.K. culture minister Ed Vaizey. "This new agreement enhances our already strong relationship with South Africa and will help television production companies in both countries realize the benefits that come with co-production.”

It is the latest co-production treaty for South Africa, most initially focused on films. Its first was with Canada, signed in 1997, followed by Germany, Italy, the U.K. and France, as well as fellow Southern Hemisphere countries Australia and New Zealand.

South Africa has touted its skilled crews, studio facilities in Cape Town, locations and affordability as key features attracting foreign productions.