Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher.

Paul Fletcher.

A new co-production treaty between Australia and Malaysia is expected to instigate the first-ever live action feature film collaborations between the two countries.

Australia and Malaysia have partnered on animated series and films in the past few years such as preschool animated series Sydney Sailboat, co-produced by Essential Media and Entertainment and Shambles Communications, Malaysia’s Ideate Media and Lemon Sky and Ireland’s Telegael.

The series aired here on ABC Kids as Bubble Bath Bay and and was acquired by Hulu in the US.

Kamil Othman, a former director general of National Film Development Corporation Malaysia and a senior executive with the country’s Multimedia Development Corporation, tells IF: “This treaty with Australia signposts to a more positive and comprehensive collaborations with Australian resources and financing for live action feature films.”

Now an advisor to Malaysia’s Digital Content Connection, Othman continues: “We have a few projects that could be among the first to come under the treaty, although animation would still be important for Malaysia.

“Today we’re a little like Australia during the early 1970s. We are making the equivalent of our Mad Max or The Money Movers but only for the domestic market. It’s time we unshackle these chains.

“We would love to see stories of common interest between Australia and Malaysia to be brought to the screen under the treaty, because there are plenty of those.”

The agreement with Malaysia under the Australian International Co-Production Program, which is administered by Screen Australia, encourages creative exchange between partner countries, the development of screen projects of cultural significance and collaboration on feature films, TV dramas, animations and documentaries.

Paul Fletcher, Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, said: “This agreement builds on an already strong partnership between Australian and Malaysian producers and helps drive the development of ambitious new projects.

β€œIt will broaden the distribution network in Australia and overseas for productions such as feature films, television programs and other digital formats, as well as high-quality animation projects.”

Malaysia’s Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo told the Bernama news agency: “This is a good initiative because it will help the Malaysian creative industry in opening up more opportunities and new business spaces for our film industry players with Australia and other related countries in the future.”

Australia has co-production agreements with Canada, China, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and the UK.

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