New Zealand-based industry organisation Film Auckland and the China Film Association have signed a memorandum of understanding designed to form a closer working relationship between the two countries.

Film Auckland is currently in China as part of a week-long delegation organised by Waitakere City Council and Jim He of the Pacific Culture and Arts Exchange Centre. The delegates are also holding a New Zealand Film Festival that will travel to Beijing, Shanghai and Ningbo during June, and coincides with the Shanghai International Film Festival.

China and New Zealand are expected to sign a co-production treaty next month when New Zealand prime minister John Key is in China.

Film Auckland executive manager, Michael Brook, described the MoU as a significant milestone in Auckland’s working relationship with China.

“This is an extremely heartening move that will ensure greater communications, co-operation and co-productions between the Chinese and New Zealand film industries,” said Brook.

He added: “China’s interest in film is growing at a rapid rate, which gives New Zealand access to a very large and lucrative potential market. Chinese producers are already actively looking at New Zealand for production partners.” 

Film Auckland board member and former chairman, Pete Rive, signed the MoU in Beijing. “This MoU follows our important 2007 delegation and three years of hard work through Film Auckland’s membership of APN [the Asia Pacific Producer’s Network],” said Rive.

China Film Association is a non-governmental industry organisation with a membership of 6,000.