Independent Film and TV Alliance praises U.S.-Chinese Film Agreement

The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) praised the U.S.-Chinese Film Agreement concluded today, which will offer unprecedented opportunities for the U.S. Independent film industry in China.

”For Independents, this agreement is momentous,” said IFTA President Jean Prewitt. “Our sector has been unable to benefit fully from the existing revenue-sharing importation 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.”

Prewitt added, “In addition to improving the existing revenue-sharing regime, under the terms of the Agreement, China has committed to allowing new local companies to engage in local distribution, to introducing transparency into censorship and importation decisions, and to offering terms and conditions equivalent to comparable markets such as France and Germany. Most importantly, these changes will accelerate the development of a competitive marketplace in which both the U.S. and the Chinese independent film industries can flourish.”

Prewitt went on to thank Presidents Obama and Hu, Vice Presidents Biden and Xi, their negotiators and U.S Trade Representative Ambassador Ron Kirk and his team for their tireless efforts to achieve this Agreement.

China has agreed that licensing arrangements should be negotiated on commercial terms comparable with other markets proportional in size. Additionally, the pact encompasses key provisions that are considered standard practice elsewhere, including audit rights, approval of sub-licenses, consultation on marketing campaigns and the ability to designate a choice of law when disputes arise.

Moreover, censorship rejection cannot be enforced as a material breach of the Agreement. Instead, the licensor and China’s State-Owned Enterprises will now work together to find a solution when these situations arise.

China has also agreed to affirm that no law or regulations can prevent other Chinese enterprises from actively engaging in the distribution of imported films. In fact, the Chinese government will now promote the entrance of other distributors into the marketplace.

The Independent Film & Television Alliance (IFTA) is the global trade association of the independent motion picture and television programming industry. Headquartered in Los Angeles, the organization represents and provides significant entertainment industry services to more than 150 member companies from 23 countries, consisting of independent production and distribution companies, sales agents, television companies, studio-affiliated companies, and financial institutions engaged in content finance.

Collectively, the Independent Film & Television Alliance’s members produce more than 400 independent films and countless hours of television programming each year and generate more than $4 billion in distribution revenues annually. The organization’s premiere event, the American Film Market, held in conjunction with AFI FEST, takes place every year in November in Santa Monica.

As the voice and advocate for the independent film and television industry worldwide, the Alliance speaks out on matters of critical importance and, where appropriate, actively lobbies governments around the world in regard to measures directly affecting the independent industry.