South Korea and New Zealand have signed a co-production treaty that will allow films from both countries to enjoy the same benefits for financing, incentives and support programmes.

The treaty also provides for the importation of film equipment and visas for location shoots.

Recent Korean films shot in New Zealand include hits Silmido and Old Boy, and the upcoming US-Korea co-production Laundry Warrior, on which Lord Of The Rings producer Barrie M. Osborne is also a producer. The NZ horror film Black Sheep also had Korean investment.

Five years after the initiation of discussions, the treaty was signed yesterday in Wellington by Korea's Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Yu In-chon and New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark, who also serves as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage.

Clark said she was aware of several co-productions in development.

'This agreement will provide a further boost to filmmakers to advance these projects,' she said.

'Our two countries will now be able to cooperate on everything from production and filmmaking technology to promotion and marketing,' said Yu, adding he expected the treaty to play a role in Korean films branching out globally.

NZ has co-production treaties with eight other countries, including Germany, the UK and Canada, while Korea has only one other, with France, signed in 2006.

Clark previously signed an Audio Visual Cooperation Agreement with South Korea at APEC 2005, and Film Auckland and the Korean Film Producers' Association in 2007 signed a co-production collaboration agreement.