China's National People's Congress issued a draft of the
Film Industry Promotion Law for public comment
on November 6, 2015. The law is to apply to "film
activities" such as film development, production, distribution
and release within the PRC. The published annotations indicatethe
law is intended to simplify the regulation of screenplays, film
productions and exhibitions and the holding of foreign-related film
Fundamental changes to the existing regulatory framework, as it
affects foreigners, are not proposed in the draft law. Foreigners
will still be prevented from engaging independently in film
production in China. Foreigners will still be prevented from
engaging in film distribution in China. No mention is made of any
lifting of the quota on importing foreign films on a
revenue-sharing basis. Still, many of the changes would definitely
streamline the official co-production process for foreign
producers. There is also now express official recognition of the
need for improvements in the system of film finance and the need
for tax incentives for local producers.
From our perspective as China film lawyers, the most interesting
features of the draft law are as follows:
A screenplay will no longer be
subject to approval if the film will deal with "general"
themes. For such films it will only be necessary to file a
synopsis. A screenplay review is still required for movies with
Production licenses will no longer be
required for each individual film. Chinese enterprises with the
"appropriate personnel, funds and other resources" will
be allowed to engage in ongoing film production activities if they
have approval from the relevant authorities at the provincial,
regional or municipal level.
Approval after completion of
production is still required but may be obtained from the
authorities at the provincial, regional or municipal level.
Relevant authorities of the State
Council must formulate applicable review standards and make them
available to the public.
China will implement preferential tax
policies to promote development of its film industry. Specific
measures are to be promulgated by the tax authorities of the State
Financial institutions are to be
encouraged to provide financing services and film-related IP pledge
services for film activities and improvement of film
infrastructure. Insurance and completion guarantee companies are to
be encouraged to develop the products needed to furtherdevelop
China's film industry.
Let us know what you're hearing about the draft law.
Originally published on November 10th, 2015
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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