The Minister of Culture Indrek Saar and the Deputy Minister of China’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television Tong Gang signed a film cooperation agreement between the two countries today, on 29 April in Beijing. The agreement facilitates co-production of films and simplifies cooperation of film industry professionals.
Preparations for concluding the agreement have lasted over two years. The Minister of Culture Indrek Saar assured there are multiple benefits that can arise from the agreement for Estonia. “The Chinese film industry needs European film sets. There are internationally acclaimed film industry professionals in Estonia and we have leading-edge possibilities for post-processing. We can offer all this to our Chinese partners,” the Minister noted. Saar added that the agreement will also promote screening of films at prestigious festivals of both countries and pointed out the Black Nights Film Festival held in Estonia.
The Deputy Minister Tong Gang stated Estonia is the fourteenth country with whom China has concluded a similar agreement. He expressed his belief in the agreement being the cornerstone for new cultural relations between the countries and stated that the Chinese film industry has undergone a rapid development during the last decade, just like the Estonian film industry. The Deputy Minister said that China would welcome Estonian films in reputable film festivals in Beijing, Shanghai and Silk Road.
Cooperation between Estonia and China in the film industry has been rather infrequent so far; nevertheless, removing the obstacles related to co-production will boost the development of film industries of both countries, as well as their cultural and economic exchange. However, the prerequisite of a co-produced film is the existence of a partner in the other country when a film project reaches the production phase. The partner organisation of the producer in Estonia is the Estonian Film Institute. A co-produced film is entitled to all benefits intended for those active in the film industry in Estonia and China.
The agreement will be in force for four years and will then be automatically extended for a subsequent period unless either of the parties expresses their desire to terminate the agreement.
So far, one film has been co-produced by Estonia and China – the 2006 film “Jade Warrior” – that also included Finland and the Netherlands as partners. This is the only joint film production where Estonia has participated that has reached Chinese cinemas, being shown in 70 cities. In 2010, the first Chinese Film Days were held in Estonia and in October of the same year, Estonian films were successfully shown as part of the Shanghai EXPO programme. Relations with the Shanghai International Film Festival have been renewed as of 2015.
Estonia has previously concluded similar film cooperation agreements with Russia and Israel and a memorandum of cooperation has been signed with Korea. An audiovisual cooperation agreement has been signed with Canada and the ongoing cooperation with European countries adheres to the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production.