A $15 million feature film to be shot in Canberra based on the life of Sam Poo, Australia's only Chinese bushranger, is one step closer to reality after receiving backing from a Chinese production company.
The Canberra companies behind the film JIA Films and SilverSun Pictures have partnered with China's Yuezhong Pictures as part of a 10-year memorandum of understanding to develop and co-produce multiple feature films and other screen projects.
SilverSun Pictures CEO Andrew Marriott co-signed the MOU with Canberra-based Chinese-born film producer and director and JIA Films CEO Cindy Li.
He said it was a significant commitment to the Canberra economy and a "watershed moment" for his production company.
"We expect the first production under the MOU will be Aodaliya Gold, or Australia Gold in English, a $15 million feature film based on the life of Australia's only Chinese bushranger," he said.
"The production, written by Canberra writer Robert Macklin, will be primarily filmed in the Canberra region and will offer new and interesting opportunities for local film practitioners and support services."
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said the agreement signed in Shenzhen had the potential to deliver $50 million of productions in the next decade and was a "coup for the Canberra film industry".
"The collaboration of these three companies is a tangible example of the strengthening Canberra-Shenzhen relationship, and is evidence of our growing business and cultural ties," Mr Barr said.
"It also illustrates the numerous opportunities that exist for Canberra companies to gain access to and compete in international markets."
Screen ACT paid for a trailer of the film in 2014, which Ms Li hoped to use to drum up interest from investors in China and at international film festivals for the film's $20 million budget.
Mr Marriott said the relationship was the culmination of years of work by Ms Li to establish her company in China and build on its success in Australia.
"We are very pleased to be working in collaboration with JIA Films, and look forward to bringing Chinese-Australian productions to Canberra to help build a vibrant local film industry," he said.
Mr Barr said the ACT government's visit to Shenzhen reinforced its commitment to a memorandum of understanding signed between the two governments in October 2014.