Filming In The Western Cape

SA Co-production Treaties

International Co-Production Treaties

International co-production refers to two or more production enterprises from different countries undertaking television and film (or other video) projects. Co-production Treaties between countries allow for an officially approved film or television program to be regarded as a national production of each of the co-producing countries. This makes them eligible to apply for financial benefits or assistance programs in either country. Also, each of the co-producers brings access to their domestic market.

Co-productions can either be:

  1. Where creative control is shared between local and foreign partners, with local and foreign elements in creative positions; or
  2. A straightforward co-financing arrangement where one partner provides partial funding while the other undertakes the actual production. This is subject to certain restrictions.

Co-Production Treaties with South Africa

To date South Africa has entered into eight Audiovisual Co-production treaties:

  1. South Africa and Canada(1997)
  2. South Africa and Germany(2004)
  3. South Africa and Italy(2003)
  4. South Africa and United Kingdom(2007)
  5. South Africa and France(2010)
  6. South Africa and New Zealand(2011)
  7. South Africa and Australia(2010)
  8. South Africa and Ireland(2012)


Treaties vary from country to country, but the following is applicable to all:

  • The Co-Producer’s artistic / technical contribution and its rights in the project must be proportionate to its financial contribution;
  • The minimum financial contribution of each Co-Producer must be 20% of the film’s total cost;
  • Generally, non-citizens and non-permanent residents are not allowed to participate in the co-production. However, various treaties do allow for a few exceptions;
  • To access funds out of non-treaty countries, producers may structure more complicated multi-lateral co-productions. Co-producers may use 2 treaties together to link co-producers from more than 2 countries which are signatory to those treaties, so long as the requirements of both treaties are met. (See below);
  • The project must be credited as an official Co-Production and the individual Co- Producers should be credited as such;
  • It is important that South Africans are represented at all levels above (and in proportion to the South African Co-Producer’s % financial contribution), however NFVF may accept low SA representation in one area if this is compensated by strong SA representation in another area;

It is important to note the SA/UK and SA/France Treaties specifically exclude any project other than theatrical releases, whereas the others allow all formats (e.g. TV, home video).

Multi-lateral Co-Production Treaties

The following countries, apart from those they share in common with South Africa, also have treaties with countries that South Africa does not:

  • Australia: China, Israel, Singapore. Currently negotiating with India, Denmark, Malaysia and the Republic of Korea;
  • Canada has treaties with 50 countries (click here for the full list.);
  • France: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia;
  • Germany: Austria, Belgium, Hungary, Luxembourg, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland;
  • Italy: Austria, Belgium, Belgium French Community, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden;
  • New Zealand: China (film only), India, Republic of Korea (film only), Singapore. currently negotiating with China (TV);
  • UK: India, Israel, Jamaica, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Application Procedure

There is a two-step application procedure for a film to qualify as an official co-production.

  1. Each co-producer must apply to the competent authority in their home country at least 30 days prior to the commencement of principal photography for an Advance Ruling. In South Africa that authority is the National Film and Video Foundation (NFVF);
  2. At the end of the production an application for Final Approval is submitted together with the required documentation (Please refer to guidelines for Final Approval).

Co-Production Guidelines

The NFVF has prepared guidelines to assist producers in making their application. They outline the application procedure and the requirements for submission of projects applying for an Advance ruling.

The guidelines were drafted under the guidance of best practice and relevant policies in other co-producing countries together with assistance from the main film industry bodies in South Africa and producers, lawyers etc, who have been particularly involved with co-productions.

Co-Production Guidelines and Application Forms

Some more infomation here...
Some more infomation here...