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WHAT IS A CO-PRODUCTION?

The exact definition of what qualifies a co-operation to be defined as a co-production is open to discussion. Here is EDNs understanding of the term and how it is to be understood in THE EDN CO-PRODUCTION GUIDE.

First of all the term is used for 2 very different co-operations: a co-operation between 2 or more production companies or a co-operation between a broadcaster and a production company.

In the EDN CO-PRODUCTION GUIDE you will find examples of both.

The headings NATIONAL FUND or OTHER FUNDS deal with co-productions between companies from different countries. The heading TV deals with co-productions between a broadcaster and a company from another country than the broadcaster.


1. CO-PRODUCTION BETWEEN COMPANIES

A co-production is defined as a co-operation between 2 or more companies, that jointly

  • produce,
  • manage the production and
  • own the rights and the physical material of the film.


This must be stated in a Co-production Agreement, signed by the co-producers that

  • confirms and defines the above
  • confirms and defines the creative and technical details of the production (writer, director, length, versions)
  • defines the distribution of the practical management and responsibility of the production between the co-producers
  • defines the exploitation of the rights, including each co-producers share of income from this exploitation (the share of income very often equals the financial contribution of each co-producer)
  • defines the territories in which the co-producers exclusively and/or jointly will exploit the film
  • holds appendixes, that are as binding as the §§ of the agreement itself: Budget, Financing plan and any agreement entered with a 3rd party on behalf of the co-production.


All the countries that are represented here in the EDN CO-PRODUCTION GUIDE have signed the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production. Currently a total number of 43 countries have ratified the convention.

If a co-production applies to the guidelines of the Convention, the co-production can access national funding in the country of each participating co-producer on equal terms as a national production.

To apply to the convention the most important conditions are:

  • the joint management and ownership of rights between the co-producers
  • the co-producers must represent at least 2 member states
  • the co-production must involve no less than 3 co-producers. 2 co-producers is accepted, if no bilateral agreement exist between the countries of the 2 co-producers
  • 1 co-producer can contribute to the financing of the production with a maximum of 70% and a minimum of 10% (with 2 co-producers it's 80% and 20%)
  • If one of the co-producers comes from a country that has not signed the Convention, there must be at least 3 producers from member states that must contribute together with no less than 70% of the financing
  • The production must be acknowledged as a European film, according to a table of points regarding creative, performing and technical contribution
  • The film has to be aimed for theatrical distribution.


In THE EDN CO-PRODUCTION GUIDE you will find, that many countries has national restrictions that limit in practice the access to national funding, even if the co-production applies to the convention. This can for example be reflected in the so-called Culture Test that require a high national relevance in terms of content and/or artistic participation from the country.

The national requirements can also be a high level of expenditure and/or production days in the country.

If a co-production receives funding from EURIMAGES (guidelines very similar to the ones in the Convention) it is not applicable for TV-funding from Creative Europe (http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/eurimages/default_en.asp).


2. CO-PRODUCTION BETWEEN A BROADCASTER AND A COMPANY

A Co-production contract in this case is a completely different agreement than the one entered between production companies. There are no international conventions, bilateral agreements or national guidelines that regulate co-productions between broadcasters and companies; hence the contracts differ very much.

A Co-production reflects a strong involvement from the broadcaster in the production. Compared to a Pre-sale, this would very often involve:

  • a contract entered at an early state of production
  • frequent involvement of the broadcaster in both artistic, production and financial matters. The contract will define a minimum for this involvement:
  • script, production plan, budget and financing plan as part of the contract
  • discussions about and/or acceptance of rough cut(s) and final cut
  • acceptance of major changes in the production
  • a higher amount of contribution from the broadcasters side
  • distribution of rights between the production company and the broadcaster


Some broadcasters only enter co-productions with companies from their own country. This is especially the case in countries with a small production capacity in the independent sector and a broadcaster that only engage in few co-productions.

In the EDN CO-PRODUCTION GUIDE we have only included co-productions where the majority producer comes from another country than the broadcaster.


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