The Benefits of Co-Production for your Film Project

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As a producer, one of the biggest challenges of a film project is to complete financing. It starts with the looking for financing to develop a project, and then the actual production of the film, and finally, international marketing and distribution.

The search for financing can consist of assessing lending options, looking for potential equity investors, studying and applying for government incentive programs and film festival circuits. On the other hand, there might be ways to bring down development and production costs by deferring budget payments and looking for alternative (and cheaper) production and filming locations.

The co-production between two or more countries can cover several of the options mentioned above, and therefore, be decisive on completing the financing of your film.

Below are four considerations in favour of a co-production to finance your project.

Co-Production to access Support and Incentive Programs

By turning the project into a co-production, the project may tap into several support and incentive programs, instead of just the ones available in your own country. Many countries have national support and incentive programs for feature films. The film will have to qualify as national in each of the co-production countries. To be acknowledged as a national project, the film will have meet certain requirements on amongst others a creative level, local expenditure and / or nationality of talent and crew contracted. Such requirements are different in each country and change constantly. Support and incentives may consist of loans or investment from local film institutes, tax-related advantages, or grants.

Financial Contribution from Co-Producers

For a project to qualify as a co-production, you will have to team up with a local production company to join your project. Each of the co-producers may contribute financially to the project from their own sources and invest directly in the film. They will then become an equity partner in the project. This means that you will give up on part of the ownership of your film, but in return you may get the crucial financing needed to complete development and production.

Co-Production may decrease Production Costs

Setting up a co-production for your film project can lead to a decrease of the production costs. Now this depends largely on where you are located as a production company. When based in North America or Europe for example, a co-production with a country in Latin America can be very beneficial from a costs-perspective, as at least part of the film will be produced and shot there. As prices are generally lower in Latin America, the production costs will go down. With lower development or production costs to finance, the money needed to finance will be less and hence easier to get together.

Co-Production can increase Domestic Revenues

A co-production means that there are two or more home territories for the film. Often, the home territory (the country the production is from), is often initially the main source of exploitation and consequently, revenue generation. If the film has two or more nationalities, the advantage may be that the film is marketed strongly in all the countries the co-production belongs to, and hence generates domestic revenues from several territories. The revenues generated from domestic exploitation of the film can become a source of financing for the production or later-on, international promotion of the film.

by David Zannoni.

David is a representative of Fintage House, one of the major providers of Collection Account Management Services and runs his own media consultancy and representation firm Zannoni Media, which provides consultancy and representation services in the audiovisual industry, with a special focus on transactions between the USA, the countries of Latin America and Spain. David has an extensive network among film producers, financiers, bankers, sales agents, law firms and agencies.

David can be contacted at david@zannonimedia.com