Indie filmmakers gave two big thumbs up to a trade agreement announced late Friday that would allow more U.S. films into China.
The Independent Film & Television Alliance praised the trade deal, saying it would create "unprecedented opportunities" for the U.S. independent film industry.
"For independents, this agreement is momentous,'' said IFTA President-CEO Jean Prewitt. "Our sector has been unable to benefit fully from the existing revenue-sharing import quotas and has had limited avenues through which to distribute. For the first time, through this agreement, there is a promise of creating a commercial foundation that will allow independent producers to participate more fully in the Chinese marketplace."
The agreement announced Friday by the White House would increase the number of foreign films allowed into China under a revenue-sharing agreement by 14, at least for so-called enhanced films that are shown in IMAX or 3-D. The current quota is limited to about 20 foreign films, mostly American. Additionally, the agreement, which stemmed from a longstanding complaint the U.S. filed with the World Trade Organization, also increases the amount of revenue foreign studios can receive under the quota from 13% to 25%.
But the trade deal also gives independent filmmakers, most of whom distribute their movies in China without any revenue sharing, something they've long coveted: the ability to negotiate license deals on commercial terms comparable with other markets. The pact also includes other provisions that are standard practice elsewhere, including audit rights, consultation on market campaigns and the ability to appeal decisions on movies that are rejected for censorship reasons, Prewitt said.
Photo: DreamWorks' "Kung Fu Panda 2." On Friday, DreamWorks unveiled plans to build a new studio in Shanghai, China. Credit: DreamWorks Animation