If there seemed to be more Canadian production companies meeting with Spanish toon houses at MIPTV this year, it was no coincidence. Talk of a TV co-production treaty between the two countries has been bubbling under the surface since 2003, but it looks like a real deal should be struck in the coming months.
The proposed treaty is an amendment to a bilateral agreement signed between the two countries in 1985. Whereas the original paperwork only covered feature films, The Government of Canada and the Government of Spain Concerning Cinematographic Relations will amend the treaty to include television – namely animation. The minimum financial investment required for a copro could be reduced from 20% to 10% for producers from the EU, which is consistent with other members of the European Union that hold treaties with Canada. Official co-productions created under this agreement will also be eligible to apply for government funding from Telefilm Canada via the Canadian co-producer.
Neil Court, a partner at Toronto Canada’s Decode, says the proposed treaty is important because Spain’s animation infrastructure is growing at a rapid clip and its reputation is getting a boost from recent shows such as Granada/Zinkia’s Pocoyo. But more significantly, Canadian prodcos could use the treaty with Spain to get projects qualified as European. He points to the increasing inclination of U.K., German and Scandinavian broadcasters to tack European quotas on their co-pros and acquisitions. ‘Once a show lands a European quota, it will have it forever. And over time, that will help to enhance its library value,’ he explains.
Christophe Goldberger, the head of distribution and marketing at Barcelona, Spain’s Icon Animation says the treaty will help his country’s toon community work on a level similar to France. ‘A high percentage of co-productions between Canada and Europe are done with France, and it’s been difficult to compete,’ he says.
Court says Decode is putting out feelers in Spain, while Barcelona’s Neptuno Films is discussing potential co-pro opps with Canadian producers. Roberto Mitrani, director of international operations, says he’s angling to share budget costs and split distribution territories and revenue shares.