International co-production: how to do it right
What is international co-production and how Ukrainian producers can join it? Where and how the project distribution is taking place? How the rights are allocated? KMW CoProduction Meetings 2019 organizers tailored the co-production guide for you to find answers to these and other important questions.

More than 18,000 films made in co-production projects were released in Europe from 2007 to 2016. And each year, the number of projects continues to increase: for example, in 2010-2015, every fourth feature film (24%) produced in the EU was a result of international co-production. How is that possible and how Ukrainian producers can become a part of this impressive statistics? Read below.

First of all, we need to define what is international co-production. It is a common belief that if a company invests money in a foreign project, it automatically becomes an international co-production. However, this is not the case. To obtain this status a producer has to collect documents and then submit them to cinema institutes or other institutions which represent the audiovisual sector. Besides, such films often apply for state support what makes them potential candidates for "national status"in several countries. Therefore, the relevant government bodies check who owns the rights or a share, who will distribute a project and on which platform.

Where to find support?

Currently, there are many national, regional, local funds across Europe that support local producers. They also may find support for their international co-production projects there. Let's take a glance at two biggest programs.

Eurimages is European fund for the co-production and distribution of cinematographic works. It was created within the framework of Council of Europe in 1998, but Ukraine has not yet become a member of this organization. Therefore, to join the co-production process supported by Eurimages, a Ukrainian producer should find a co-producer in a country that can apply for a grant from this fund.

The second way is to refer to the Council of Europe Convention on Cinematographic Co-production. The Convention provides support for multilateral cinematographic co-production across Europe, not just the EU. To obtain co-production status at least three co-producers from three different signatories countries (Ukraine is among them) must work on the project. It is noteworthy that producers from countries that have not signed the Convention can also be involved in the project, but their share should not exceed 30% of production costs. In general, the share of one producer from a participating country (if two producers from the same country work on the project) cannot exceed 90%, for three producers — 80%.

Under the terms of the Convention, to receive the international status for the project a cultural test has to be passed. For example, for an animation project, the minimal score is 15 out of a possible 23 points, for a feature film — 16 points out of 21 (however, if all Parties agree exceptions to this rule can be made). In this case, the most points (4) can be obtained for local director and screenwriter (3), as well as for leading actors — 3 points (points are determined by a number of shooting days).

The greatest advantage is that according to the Convention, the films with international co-production status should receive national status in the co-producing countries. This allows to apply for cinema centers and local foundation grants.

Of course, the Convention is not the only international treaty related to co-production. There are also agreements on cooperation in the field of audiovisual production, for instance, Ukraine has signed one with France and Canada. They have "softer" requirements on the number of co-producers and their share ratios. However, it is important to note that such agreements are less effective than the Convention. That is, when it comes to countries that have signed a bilateral agreement and ratified the Convention (Ukraine and France are among them) the producers from these countries should follow the Convention, not the agreement while working on a co-production project.

Where to show?

One of the biggest issues for producers is the international potential of a film or series. Where can it be distributed to get the maximum profit? Co-Production projects have greater distribution potential: if two countries work on a film, then it can be shown at least in two countries. In general, the two countries is the average number of countries working on co-production projects in the EU. Which is not bad as far as films with national status rarely go beyond one country.

However the number of countries that will see a co-production project can be larger. According to statistics, 39.5% of all co-production projects filmed with the participation of European partners from 2010 to 2015 were initially released abroad, moreover, not always in EU countries. Taking into consideration the majority co-production projects, the percentage grows to 62.9%. For example, half of the films made in partnership with German producers were released outside the EU earlier than in Germany.

Among successful international co-production projects the following films can be named THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (MAN SOM HATAR KVINNOR, 2009, co-production between Sweden, Denmark, Germany, and Norway). In 2011, its success has led to the creation of American version of the film which became popular in Europe. Another successful co-productions are TONI ERDMAN (2016, Germany, Austria, Monaco, Romania, France, Switzerland), TRANSIT (2018, Germany, France), 3 DAYS WITH ROMY SCHNEIDER (3 DAYS IN QUIBERON, 2018, Germany, Austria, France) and more.

Of course, we highlight the importance of copyright issues solving to avoid situations like the one that happened with THE MAN WHO KILLED DON QUIXOTE (2018, Spain, Belgium, France, United Kingdom, Portugal). We remind you that the project underwent "production hell" and ended up in court, where director Terry Gilliam was deprived of copyright, which was transferred to the production company Alfama Films. Finally, the movie was released by the skin of its teeth.

Where to find partners?

Reliable professional partners — that is the most important key to the success of a co-production project. KMW CoProduction Meetings 2019 is dedicated to establishing cooperation with these partners. A panel discussion on the co-production in Ukraine, presentation of projects by international producers who are interested in cooperation with Ukraine as well as face-to-face meetings with foreign colleagues, where Ukrainian producers will be able to present their projects will take place during co-production event of KYIV MEDIA WEEK media forum.

The admission of KMW CoProduction Meetings 2019 is free for Ukrainian participants. This was made possible by Ukrainian Cultural Foundation (UKF) which supports the project within the framework of Strengthening Capacity of Ukrainian Audiovisual Sector the program.

The KMW CoProduction Meetings 2019 will be held on September 18 and 19 at Hyatt Regency Kyiv (5, Alla Tarasova St.).

To stay up to date with the event, follow KMW CoProduction Meetings 2019 event on Facebook and check the updates on our web-site and KYIV MEDIA WEEK Facebook page.