As a part of the educational section of St. Anna’s Debut and Student Film Festival educational centre «Culturbureau» held a master-class on «Co-production as a way to attract additional funding for film production and post-production» in Dom Kino (ru., the House of Film).
The lecturers were the members of "Rock Films" - Head of International Department Olga Aylarova and Head of Production Department Elena Bystrova.
"Rock Films" has a rich experience of working on projects that received international funding ("Friends From France", "Hugo", etc.) and currently has several new projects in co-production with their international partners. For example, "Stockholm Syndrome" and "Comrades" in co-production with German partners, "Mulla" with France and Israel. Young filmmakers responded with active interest to both the lecture and the topic in general, asking for more information from the lecturers who are actively involved in co-production themselves.
So, what is co-production?
Co-production is a process during which several companies are involved in making a film, later sharing the rights on the intellectual property and dividing the profits. Co-production is used to create feature-length or short films, feature, animation or documentary films. Nowadays, it is being used more and more often. Use of co-production can be determined by the specific needs of specific projects, for example, locations, actors or other factors involved.
Most Russian international partners are within Europe, where agreements are being made on the basis of the European convention on cooperative film production.
Funding for co-produced projects may come from governmental and non-governmental funds, private investments, bank loans, minimal guarantees of film distributors, sales-agencies, TV-channels and other sales. If a film is classified as co-production, it may also receive all of the benefits of a national film.
The advantages of co-production are:
- Larger number of states, in which the film will be shown
- Access to all professional resources of all the countries included in the project (locations, specialists, equipment and cutting-edge technology), which might not be available otherwise.
- Access to national funding on equal terms with other films local to those counties.
- Benefits, which might be available to national films of those counties involved in the project (for example, reduction in taxes when dealing with international contracting parties for Russian companies)
As in any other mechanism, co-production also has some disadvantages. Co-production extends the time required for project's development, as agreements and legal procedures tend to require additional time.
In addition to that the complicated process of raising funding for the projects could last for years, because European partners start shooting only after receiving 100% of the required funds. It is also additionally clarified (based on local rules) who, how and where can use the funds raised from a particular partner.
The process of raising the funds begins in the country, which is the majoritarian producer and has to make the main contribution to the project in terms of financial, creative and technical resources.
The first steps that a young filmmaker has to make to make use of co-production is to have a script ready and a producer, who must be a citizen of the same county as the author.
As for the rest, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!
The material was prepared by Ilya Belkina