A law to promote the film industry and reduce barriers to entry…

China’s booming box-office – now the second largest film market after the United States – has the whole world making eyes at the People’s Republic (see our article Co-production : A Gateway To China). As a result, the recently enacted law aims to regulate the production of films in China, as well as to reduce the barriers that prevent major international projects from seeing the light of day.

Measures worth noting include:

    • The removal of the of the production license requirement.
    • The simplification of the approval process: producers wishing to submit a proposal to the SAPPRFT (State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television) can now submit an outline in place of the entire screenplay.
    • The Chinese government’s willingness to help culture through tax measures and loans aimed at corporations.
    • The impossibility for foreign production companies to film in China without Chinese partners.

The final decision to reject or approve a film project will fall on local authorities – Beijing having decided to decentralize censorship. In other words, a film that is rejected in one province could still try its luck in another district.


…… Without forgetting to promote Socialism and Chinese values

As promising as it is, the law comes with a number of constraints, censorship an obvious one.

Therefore, the following are not allowed:

      • Films harming the country’s dignity, honor and interests.
      • Films jeopardizing the unity of the people.
      • Films opposing the law and constitution.
      • Films exposing national secrets or promoting terrorism.

That being said, the promotion of socialist values is certainly allowed, even recommended.

As for actors, filmmakers and crewmembers, they’ll have to comply with the country’s moral values.


And what about co-productions?

Co-productions between China and other partners will always be considered “local”, as long as the investment from the Chinese party remains sufficient.

China’s quota system (which limits the number of foreign films in the country to 34 a year) will remain in place. However, an upward reevaluation is not out of the question; a renegotiation of the agreement between China and the United States is expected in early 2017.

The Film Industry Promotion Law, on the other hand, will take effect as soon as next March.



Co-production : a gateway to China Estelle Konik : http://www.estellekonik.com/film-blog/co-producing-with-china



China Approves First Film Law, VARIETY, 11/10/2016 http://variety.com/2016/film/asia/china-approves-first-film-law-includes-moral-code-1201914786/

China's Film Industry Promotion Law, CHINA LAW BLOG, 11/10/2015 http://www.chinalawblog.com/2015/11/chinas-film-industry-promotion-law-the-new-draft.html

China has new law on film industry, CCTV, 11/09/2016 http://english.cctv.com/2016/11/09/VIDET57RO5Ufp0SRw6bVyBpV161109.shtml