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Ireland Signs Co-Production Treaty With South Africa At Cannes
21 May 2012 : By Steve Cummins
Minister Jimmy Deenihan
Ireland has signed a co-production treaty with South Africa at the Cannes Film Festival in a bid to forge closer links with each other’s film industries.

Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan flew in to Cannes yesterday (May 20) to formalise the treaty with South Africa's Minister of Arts and Culture Paul Mashatile.

The deal will enable film or television productions from both countries to qualify for joint access to local tax incentives, national film funding and broadcaster and regional subsidies. It will also open up access to local markets and create the opportunity to pool industry resources.

Minister Deenihan said it was important for Ireland to sign co-production agreements “because they open up new territories for film makers to explore and exploit.”

He added of yesterday’s treaty: “South Africa has a growing film production industry, with recent box office successes to its name, and I would like to see closer links between Ireland and South Africa in growing our joint film sectors into the future.”

The treaty was signed in the South African Pavilion in the Cannes festival village. Members of the Irish Film Board and The National Film and Video Foundation of South Africa were present at the signing.

The agreement with South Africa is the latest co-production treaty for Ireland, who have also signed bilateral co-production agreements with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Luxembourg.

Ireland is also signed up to the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production since 2000. This treaty is intended to encourage co-production between three or more signatory countries, but also allows for joint co-productions where no joint treaty exists. The convention is limited to films intended for cinema release.

There have been a number of Irish South African co-productions over the years including John Boorman’s ‘Country of My Skull,’ which was produced by Merlin Films and starred Juliette Binoche and Samuel L Jackson and Gilles McKinnon’s ‘Tara Road’ which starred Andie McDowell and was produced by Ferndale Films.

A more recent Irish-South African co-production was ‘The Good Man’ which was produced by Irish production company Treasure Entertainment (Man About Dog).

Projects that are currently in development that are envisaged to be future co-productions with South Africa include Treasure’s ‘30 Eggs’ and Samson Films ‘Six Hours,’ which is written by Michael Lavelle.

South Africa boasts a growing indigenous film production industry with the territory becoming a key production location.

Recent high profile projects made in South Africa or with South African co-producers include Clint Eastwood’s ‘Invictus’ and the Oscar nominated ‘District 9’.

The country currently offers tax incentives for productions that allow for up to 35 percent of qualifying spending by local productions up to a certain amount, followed by 25 percent for expenditures above that level.

Foreign productions get a change of a 15 per cent rebate, which will likely soon become 20 percent. Companies from countries with co-production pacts get treated like local companies.

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