Formats of Film Co-production in China

2011/12/12 14:03:00(Beijing Time)    by: EntGroup Consulting

Co-production film means the films shot collectively by China and foreign countries. Specifically, it indicates the films jointly shot, or collaboratively shot or shot under entrustment in and out of China by domestic film makers (i.e. Chinese party) and offshore film makers (i.e. foreign party) after obtaining Permit for Producing Films or Permit for Movie Production (for one film only). The form of the films includes story, cartoons, scientific and educational films, documentary film and feature films etc. (including films, digital films and TV films and so on).

Accroding to EntGroup's "Film Industry Report 2011",  there are mainly three kinds of forms for Sino-foreign coproduction films:
Jointly shooting-a shooting form in which the Chinese party and the foreign party invest collectively (including capitals, labors or material objects), shoot collectively, share interest collectively and assume risk collectively.
This category of coproduction films is invested jointly, provided with lead creator collectively and the interest from the films is also shared collectively. What we commonly call "co-production film" indicates this category of co-production film. This kind of co-production film may enjoy the treatment as domestic films when enters China mainland market, and the division proportion of profits for film maker parties shall be disposed as that of domestic films.
Representative works: Forbidden Kingdom and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Collaboratively shooting- a shooting form in which the foreign party provides contributions to shoot films in China and Chinese party provide assistances, such as equipments, instruments, sites and labors, against payment.
In this category of co-production films, the China's part does not participate in investment and the lead creators of the films are basically foreign party's personnel. Chinese party only provides equipments, instruments, sites and personnel to assist. Normally, this kind of co-production film is called “foreign-invested film” and required to handle import procedures when enters China mainland market. They shall be also treated as imported films and cannot enjoy the same treatment as domestic films.
Representative works: Kill Bill and Mission Impossible III

Shooting under entrustment-A shooting form in which the foreign party entrusts Chinese party to shoot the films in China.
This category of co-production film is completed all by Chinese party except the investment. Many documentary films adopt this mode. This kind of co-production films is treated as imported films when enter China mainland market and cannot enjoy the same treatment as domestic films.

To enter China mainland market and enjoy a better policy treatment, presently Chinese party and the foreign party normally adopt jointly shooting in the event of cooperation. Beside the requirements of collective investment and shooting, there are many other specific rules for joint shot co-production films. To know more detailed information, take Administration of Sino-foreign Cooperation in the Production of Film Provisions as reference.

Administration of Sino-foreign Cooperation in the Production of Films Provisions
Administration of Sino-foreign Cooperation in the Production of Films Provisions, released by State Administration of Radio Film and Television in 2004, is the guideline for Sino-foreign co-production films, with its abstract as following:

Article 7 The State shall implement a licensing system for Sino-foreign cooperation in film production.
Domestic work units or individuals that have not obtained a Permit for Sino-foreign Cooperation in Film Production or an approval document may not produce films in cooperation with foreign work units or individuals. Foreign work units or individuals may not produce films independently in China without approval.

Article 12 A Permit for Sino-foreign Cooperation in Film Production shall be valid for two years.

Article 13 Where it is necessary to employ overseas major crew personnel for a joint production, it shall be approved by SARFT, and the proportion of the major actors of the Foreign Party shall not exceed two-thirds of the total number of the major actors.

Article 16 Jointly-produced films may only be distributed and screened publicly inside or outside China after they have passed examination and obtained a Permit for Public Screening of Films issued by SARFT.
In cases of films produced in coordination or by appointment that have passed examination, export procedures may be carried out on the strength of the approval document of SARFT.

Article 17 Where the Chinese and foreign parties need to amend a film for which the Permit for Public Screening of Films has already been obtained, they shall report the matter to SARFT for examination and approval.

Article18 Printing and post-production on plates and sample of Sino-foreign cooperatively-produced films shall be completed in China. If it has to be completed abroad due to special needs, it shall be reported to SARFT for approval.
The remaining materials of plates and sample after editing shall be retained temporarily by the Chinese Party, and may only be exported after the film has been publicly screened abroad for six months.

Article 19 Where a jointly-produced film needs to participate in Chinese or foreign film festivals (exhibitions), it shall be reported to SARFT for record filing according to the provisions on the holding of participation in Chinese and foreign film festivals (exhibitions).

Article 20 The Foreign Party shall employ film artists and labour personnel in mainland China through the Chinese Party, and shall conclude a contract with the employees in accordance with the laws and regulations of China.

Article 21 Acts in violations of these provisions shall be penalized in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Administration of Films Regulations.

Article 22 These Provisions shall apply to the cooperative production of films in China by film producers from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Macao Special Administrative Region and Taiwan.

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