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Closer collaboration between UK and Moroccan film-makers

Closer collaboration between UK and Moroccan film-makers

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 12 October 2009


Collaborations between UK and Moroccan film-makers are set to increase after both countries today signed up to a package of incentives which will encourage co-production projects and boost both nations’ film industries.

Any UK filmmaker who wants to work with a Moroccan producer under the treaty will now have access to a range of benefits including tax breaks, sources of funding and practical support.

Morocco is a major location for many successful British films, with desert locations and other backdrops that are unavailable in Europe. Today’s co-production treaty means there are now more practical reasons for film-makers from both countries to collaborate on productions.

Film Minister Sion Simon said:

“Morocco has been a popular location for film-makers for many years, with credits including Kingdom of Heaven, Black Hawk Down, Troy and of course Lawrence of Arabia.

“But until now there have been few benefits for UK and Moroccan producers working together on projects. Without the co-production structure, films that are shot in Morocco would not have the incentive to use the UK’s post-production skill and facilities, for example.

“Today’s agreement will change all that, and enable film-makers to produce commercial and artistic films which are both attractive to audiences in the UK and capable of export around the world.”

UK Film Council Chief Executive John Woodward said:

“Morocco has formed the backdrop for some of the most popular films over the last half century, and most recently Disney’s Prince of Persia and Working Title’s Green Zone both shot there. Anything that makes it easier for British film-makers to work with their counterparts in other countries is welcome and this agreement is a good way of helping to continue to build and sustain the film industries in both countries.”

The benefits of having a co-production agreement with Morocco include:

giving film-makers access to sources of funding and support in both countries; providing an incentive to film-makers to use UK post-production facilities for films shot in Morocco; providing UK films with access to distribution networks in Morocco and further afield in North Africa; allowing British-African stories to be told which might otherwise not have been; and potentially increasing the number of film tourists to the UK. Research shows that some film locations get up to a 30% boost in bookings from fans visiting locations in their favourite films.

The UK-Moroccan co-production treaty was signed in London today and is expected to come into force in the first half of 2010, after it has been formally ratified by the Moroccan Government.

Notes to Editors

1. The treaty with Morocco will be the eighth of the UK’s bi-lateral co-production treaties. The other seven countries which have signed co-production treaties with the UK are Australia, Canada, France, India, Jamaica, New Zealand and South Africa. The UK is also signatory to the European Convention. Over 480 co-production films have been made over the last seven years, including over 120 majority UK co-productions, with an average UK expenditure of 36% which is worth over £1.4 billion to the economy.

2. The UK film and video industry employs around 35,000 people with 21,000 working directly in production. The industry produced 111 feature films (with budgets of £500k+) in 2008 with a UK production value of £578 million. In 2007 it earned £1,050 million in export income, of which £646 million was royalties and £403 million production services. In 2007 the industry achieved a trade surplus with the rest of the world of £232 million. In 2008/9 the UK Film Council made a total of 196 Lottery awards for feature film development and production, totalling £18.7 million.

3. The development of bi-lateral co-production treaties with international partners has the potential to increase the number of film tourists to the UK. Research indicates that some film locations get up to a 30% boost in bookings from fans visiting locations in their favourite films. More than a quarter of Britons say they have chosen a holiday destination after seeing it in a film. For instance, the Harry Potter films have helped boost tourism in the Northumberland area by 16%, while Calendar Girls has helped secure a 15% tourism rise for the Yorkshire Dales.


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