A group of executives from the Australian industry have formed a new trade association to lobby their government for legislative support of their efforts to work within Asia.

The establishment of the Australian Asia-Pacific Co-Production Association was announced yesterday at South Korea's Pusan International Film Festival by a group including Roger Savage, of Soundfirm, Paul De Carvalho, director of the Sydney Asai Pacific Film Festival, Gary Hamilton, managing director of Arclight Films, and Gary Rogers head of media and entertainment at Mitchell Sillar Atorneys.

The organisation's chief aim is to promote collaboration and co-productions between Australia and Asia. To achieve this it will lobby state and national agencies to support co-productions and introduce official co-production treaties.

"We found that there was a growing interest from Australian-based producers in developing closer ties with Asia and many filmmakers across Asia who are keen to work more closely with their counterparts in Australia," said Rogers.

Numerous Australian firms have recently been involved in high profile Asian films including Chinese Oscar hopeful Warriors Of Heaven And Earth and Zhang Yimou's Hero.

But the firms feel their efforts would be made easier by the establishment of treaties which allow Asian films to access Australian public funding systems.

"We are looking for more members immediately and will also form separate country groups to address specific issues," said Savage.