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UK & China sign on the dotted line

The two countries signed a film co-production treaty in China earlier this week. The treaty allows titles made as official co-productions to avoid the quota China imposes on foreign films.

The treaty signing has been on the radar for some time. On the UK side, it was in large part down to the work of the British Film Institute (BFI).

Tong Gang and Ed Vaizey sign up.

The book’s a nice red, eh? It goes well with the chairs.

After signing the treaty, UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey stated the obvious, saying, “The treaty will strengthen ties between our countries’ film industries, encouraging the sharing of knowledge and ideas as well as driving economic growth through film production.”

The UK Ministry’s media release incorrectly credited his co-signatory Tong Gang as being Vice Minister of the State Administration of Radio, Film & Television (SARFT). The agency was renamed the State Administration for Print, Publications, Radio, Film & Television (SAPPRFT) over a year ago, when its remit was expanded.

Since the Chinese place some importance on their accurate if prosaic naming conventions, the relationship should be getting off to a flying start.

Back in the UK, the BFI is busying itself this year with Electric Shadows, a literal translation of the Chinese term for “movies”, dian ying.

Electric Shadows is a year-long programme of events linking UK and Chinese, film, filmmakers and other industry organisations. It kicked off in February with a visit to the UK by Chinese director Feng Xiaogang, much-loved at home for his acerbic comedies including If You Are The One and known internationally for 2012’s Back to 1942. Starring a Welshman who spoke English throughout, the title raised some eyebrows when it become China’s submission for the Foreign Language Oscar.

Events in the UK will include film festivals of Chinese films and as-yet unannounced industry-focused events aimed at creating opportuinities for collaboration between the two countries’ filmmakers.

NZ and China signed a film co-production treaty in July 2010 and have since been negotiating towards a TV treaty. To date, no films have been made under the treaty.

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