New Zealand Signs New Film Co-Production Agreement with Israel

March 4, 2016 by Keren Cook
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A new film co-production agreement between New Zealand and Israel was cemented this week at the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) in Wellington.

Matthew Metcalfe

Matthew Metcalfe

New Zealand’s Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon. Maggie Barry and Israeli Ambassador, H.E. Yosef Livne signed the agreement, which will encourage collaboration between the New Zealand and Israel screen industries. This agreement covers film, television, animation and digital productions.

The treaty signing follows on from the Israel-Germany-New Zealand official co-production, Atomic Falafel, which opened late last year to the highest amount of box office numbers for a domestic film in Israel.

The film was written and directed by Israel’s Dror Shaul, Atomic Falafel has been a catalyst for this new treaty and used existing Israel-Germany, and Germany-New Zealand co-production agreements.

New Zealand played it’s own part in Atomic Falafel.  Kiwi producer, Matthew Metcalfe served as lead producer, leading a team of New Zealanders involved in key production and post-production roles. The film offered additional opportunities for emerging kiwi producer’s and directors.

The film had financial support from NZFC and New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) support as a qualifying official feature film co-production.

“The NZFCC works closely with our sister agency, the Israel Film Fund to strengthen ties and foster new collaborations,” said NZFC CEO Dave Gibson.

“We were delighted that Matthew met his Israeli co-producer at a networking event we co-hosted in Cannes in 2013, which led to the production of Atomic Falafel between the three countries.

“Israeli and New Zealand audiences also share a strong appetite for each other’s stories: Israeli films screen regularly in festivals here and Ticked, a New Zealand documentary that recently premiered to great acclaim at Sundance, was acquired for distribution in Israel by Channel 8,” says Gibson.

Israeli ambassador Livne says the agreement will “see the opening of a new door, through which the world renowned talent and successful film industry of New Zealand and the effervescent film industry in Israel will begin a joint march.”

Fundamentally, film co-production agreements enable joint film and television projects to gain “official co-production” status, allowing co-production filmmakers to access funding and incentives according to the “national” programmes criteria in each country. Other benefits include: providing New Zealand filmmakers more opportunity to secure offshore finance, and assisting with temporary immigration and importation of equipment.

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