A film co-production agreement between New Zealand and Israel was signed at the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) in Wellington earlier this week by New Zealand’s Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon. Maggie Barry and Israeli Ambassador, H.E. Yosef Livne.
The new agreement will encourage collaboration between the New Zealand and Israeli screen industries and 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 in late 2015 to the highest ever box office numbers for a domestic film in Israel. Written and directed by Israel’s Dror Shaul, Atomic Falafel pre-empted this new treaty and used existing Israel-Germany and Germany-New Zealand co-production agreements.
Matthew Metcalfe served as New Zealand producer, leading a team of New Zealanders involved in key production and post-production roles. An emerging New Zealand feature film producer and director also benefited from mentorship roles in New Zealand and overseas.
Atomic Falafel received NZFC production investment and New Zealand Screen Production Grant (NZSPG) support as a qualifying official feature film co-production.
“The NZFC 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 Tickled, a New Zealand documentary that recently premiered to great acclaim at Sundance, was acquired for distribution in Israel by Channel 8.”
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.”
Film co-production agreements enable approved joint film and television projects to gain “official co-production” status which gives co-production filmmakers access to funding and incentives in line with those available for ‘national’ programmes in each country. They give New Zealand filmmakers more opportunity to secure overseas finance, as well as assisting with temporary immigration and importation of equipment.
New Zealand has previously signed 16 co-production agreements, with Australia, Canada, China, Chinese Taipei, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Poland, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, South Africa, Spain and the United Kingdom. The NZFC is the competent authority for approving film and television co-productions in New Zealand.