Welcome to India!

admin   May 18, 2022

As India emerges from the global pandemic, the red carpet has been rolled out for the global filmmaking community, while ensuring that all safety protocols are in place, and permissions processes have been further simplified under the Ease of Doing Business policy to make filmmaking a beautiful experience in the world’s largest filmmaking country.

As it prepares to face the challenges of a post-Covid world, India, the world’s largest filmmaking country, is once again rolling out the red carpet for the global filmmaking community to explore the beauty of filming in India.

The importance of original content creation cannot be overstated as India embarks on a journey to build a robust ecosystem that fosters talent and growth. Today, thanks to technological advancements, good content knows no geographical boundaries, and to make filming in India a memorable experience, the Government of India has ensured a smooth process for filmmakers.

“India is a very old civilisation. With a diversity of cultures and languages, we have a lot of stories to offer to the world. Today we feel that India can be the content hub of the world with these stories. The epics of Ramayan and Mahabharat have been a major source of inspiration for various aspects of human life over the centuries, and the fables in these stories offer lessons to humanity in many ways,” says Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports.

Established in 2016, the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) of the Ministry of I&B, Government of India, is housed under the aegis of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). Its web portal https://ffo.gov.in/en is India’s single window clearance and facilitation mechanism for international feature films, reality TV &, web series, commercial TV serials/shows and web shows/series that film in India.

As a result of some serious efforts put in by FFO, as many as 138 international projects (Feature Films, TV/Web shows and series) from across 33 countries have been accorded permissions to film in India. Out of these, 13 projects were granted official co-production status by the Ministry of I& B.

India has co-production and bilateral agreements with around 30 countries across the world.

The government has also introduced a separate category of Visa called Film (F) Visa, which is valid for one year, with multiple entry facility. It has simplified entry of international filmmakers, cast & crew to film in India. It has been subsequently modified to include web shows/series and location recce for foreign filmmakers. Since 2016, over 1265 F Visas have been issued.

“Under the Government’s ease of doing business initiative, the FFO is the single window which assists in obtaining filming permissions. In this Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav we invite filmmakers to shoot in this beautiful landscape of our country, from the mighty Himalayas in the North to the scenic temples and beaches of Mahabalipuram,” says Dr L Murugan, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting and Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

As many as 18 international projects were given permission during these pandemic times, thus showing the support given to filmmakers. The shoot of the official Indo-Bangladesh co-production Bangabandhu was successfully completed and currently crew members from France, US, UK, Nigeria, Canada etc. are in the process of obtaining Film Visa to travel to India for shooting various projects.

As the government has become an important stakeholder in the film ecosystem in India, the establishment of FFO has ensured that the processes of permissions and other support services become much faster and streamlined in India.

In 2021, FFO’s mandate has been expanded to include creation of an ecosystem to facilitate various approvals and clearances required in setting up of theatres and execution of events by event management agencies at State and National level.

The Film Facilitation Office has emerged as the one-stop solution for filming needs of producers in India and abroad. It has helped almost 138 film production companies to shoot in India from abroad. So I will urge all the film producers from abroad and within the country to reach out to the Film Facilitation Office of NFDC to come and shoot in the beautiful locations of India,” says Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

India is blessed with scenic locations, incredible cultural diversity, trained film crews and low production costs, which is coupled with film friendly policies. Owing to these advantages many overseas studios are increasingly entering into arrangements with producers in India to jointly produce films and television series. India also allows Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) upto 100 percent for film and TV productions under the automatic route.

“We are committed towards the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s initiative of Filming in India under the Government of India’s Ease of Doing Business. NFDC through the FFO is constantly engaging with various Central Government Ministries/Departments and the State Governments to not only ease the filming process but also setting up a mechanism that will enable the FFO to address grievances pertaining to filming and track receipt of incentives on behalf of filmmakers,” says Ravinder Bhakar MD, National Film Development Corporation and CEO, Central Board of Film Certification.

He adds that filmmakers can apply for permits for location recce, shooting in monuments under the jurisdiction of Archaeological Survey of India and locations under the Ministry of Railways at ease through the FFO. “We look forward to welcoming producers and production companies from across the world to shoot their Feature Films, TV and Web shows and series in India,” he says.

Recently, the FFO has implemented certain modifications in its web portal, which will further ensure ease of filming in India. These modifications include simplification of the application form to make it more user friendly for both domestic and international projects. A Document checklist is also being made available in the applicant’s dashboard to enable the applicant to be prepared with all the required documents that needs to be uploaded as a part of the application.

Incentive Tracking Mechanism has also been executed on the portal. It allows applicants to fill in a form to enable the FFO track the status of disbursement of the incentive from the State Governments, on behalf of the applicant.

FFO has also put in place a shooting permission redressal / resolution mechanism. A form filled in by the applicant allows the FFO to intervene on behalf of the applicants and ensure the filming process is smooth and easy.

FFO: Adding Value to India’s Economy

The Film Facilitation Office (FFO) of the Ministry of I&B has added INR412.49 crores in terms of economic value through facilitation of permissions since FY 2016-17. As of today, out of the 138 international projects, 82 have completed shooting in India; data on money spent was received informally from 69 projects that shows approximately INR412.49 crores has been spent in India by these 69 projects. Moreover, over 29,000 people were employed directly or indirectly in these productions.

As part emphasis on ease of doing business, integration of FFO and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) web portals has enabled a filmmaker to apply and get filming permission in ASI owned monuments through the FFO. This is a step towards creating a single window ecosystem for filming across various heritage sites/monuments. FFO has also integrated its website with the Ministry of Railways to create an online application system. Domestic and International filmmakers can now apply for filming in areas under the Railway’s jurisdiction across India, through FFO portal.


DISCOVER INDIA’S BREATH-TAKING SHOOTING LOCALES

admin   May 18, 2022

India, land of beautiful locales and great talents, has reopened its doors for filming in India for global producers and studios. Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), is currently accepting online applications for foreign producers to shoot in India

There are few countries that can compete with India’s geographical and cultural diversity when it comes to filming in India. From the lofty snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas to the sand dunes of Rajasthan’s Thar Desert in North India and the sandy beaches of Goa in the south, one can easily replicate the backdrops of Mandarin China in Kolkata’s downtown, Afghanistan in the rugged mountains of Ladakh, Jamaica in feisty Goa, and Arabian nights in Jodhpur.

India is the world’s largest film producer, producing approximately 2,000 films per year. Its sheer size and the number of films released each year have caused the world to take notice of Indian cinema. It is now well established that a compelling story with universal themes has the ability to transcend borders. Indian films are made in a variety of locations throughout the country, and each of these filmmaking cities serves as a cinematic hub for one major language.

Mumbai, India’s film capital, is home to the Hindi film industry. Marathi-language films are also produced in the city, which is inextricably linked to Indian cinema history (along with neighbouring Pune). Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Bangalore, Bhubaneswar, Guwahati, Patna, and Delhi NCR are other major Indian film production cities.

The Indian AVGC story is reaching a crescendo as international studios expand their presence in India, making it a hub for virtual production, post-production, visual effects, and graphics, and as storytellers weave intricate narratives with universal appeal.

India also has world-class production and post-production facilities, as well as skilled labour, and when these benefits are combined with a transparent and responsive government-backed system for obtaining various shooting permits, it has the potential to greatly enhance the beauty of filming in India.

As the world’s largest filmmaking country emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, it intends to focus on making it easier for international filmmakers to explore this beautiful country while also utilising low-cost and highly skilled film production professionals to add global appeal to their stories.

As a result of some serious efforts put in by FFO, as many as 138 international projects (Feature Films, TV/Web shows and series) from across 33 countries have been accorded permissions to film in India. Out of these, 13 projects were granted official coproduction status by the Ministry of I&B.


Delhi an Enchanting Shooting Location

admin   May 18, 2022

With the Delhi Film Policy – 2022 billed as a game changer in attracting filmmakers from all over the world, Delhi Tourism is at the 75th edition of Cannes Film Festivalto showcase Delhi and its creative potential for filmmakers across the globe. Swati Sharma, Secretary (Tourism) and MD & CEO of Delhi Tourism, discusses the key features of the new policy and Delhi’s enormous potential as aworld-class filming location Meet Delhi Tourism at Stand No 24.01 Palais

What is your major objective at the Cannes Film Market this year?

Delhi Tourism is the nodal agency for facilitating film shootings in Delhi. We have unveiled an innovative and futuristic ‘Delhi Film Policy – 2022’, with the vision to create an enabling environment for inclusive tourism in Delhi. The Policy aims to brand Delhi as a national and international film shooting destination.

The development of an entirely online single window clearance procedure – the e-Film clearance – is the most noticeable element of the Delhi Film Policy. e-Film clearance will make the process of getting approvals easier, faster, more transparent, and more accessible.

Delhi has emerged as the preferred tourist and filmic destination for international and national filmmakers. Everyone is invited to come and shoot in Delhi because of its rich cultural and historic past, archaeological wonders, and stunning locations. And, despite being a contemporary, global city, Delhi has wonderful monuments, including three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

A muse for creators across the world, the national capital offers new talent, lower production costs and international connectivity. For us, the Festival de Cannes is an opportunity to showcase Delhi and its creative potential for film makers across the globe.

As an exhibitor at the Market in Paris what are you looking for? What is your message to global filmmakers at Cannes (from over 150 countries)?

You are the best storytellers in the world, and Delhi has a multitude of stories worth telling. We are committed to arrived and left an everlasting mark on Delhi, we wish the fraternity of creators at the ‘Festival de Cannes’ explore the Indian Capital. Come and experience Delhi which has uniqueness that helps weave stories linking places and cities culturally together. Films were there, films are there and films will be there. In an increasingly digitized world, we are looking for your esteemed presence in Delhi to shoot films in an excellent environment.

What are the main features of Delhi Film Policy?

The Delhi Film Policy – 2022 aims to promote artistic, creative, and cultural expressions; brand Delhi as a vibrant film shooting destination at national and international levels; build large film audiences; and create a skilled ecosystem in Delhi.

The key feature of the Policy is the e-film clearance (a completely online single window clearance system), which brings together close to 25 agencies on one single platform for giving online approvals for film shootings. These stakeholder agencies are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the shooting locations. When the nation is celebrating the 75 years of India’s independence, Delhi Tourism is celebrating the event by making Ease of Doing Film Business in Delhi hassle-free and contactless.

The Policy also brings with it incentives based on points earned on a scoring system. There are special incentives for foreign productions and sister cities.

Delhi will also be organizing the Delhi International Film Festival (DIFF) annually as a platform to promote Delhi as a preferred filming destination, where film fraternity from across the country and globally will be invited to the Festival.

Delhi would also establish Delhi Film Excellence Awards (DFEA) to acknowledge,honour and celebrate people who contribute to the growth and excellence of Delhi film industry.

Delhi NCR has some of the best locales in the world. What according to you are the advantages of getting a film shot in Delhi?

Delhi has the infrastructure to host filmmakers from India and around the world. Presence of various ranges of hotels and facilities of transport, communication, film shooting equipment, and film processing make Delhi an enchanting shooting location. Trained, multi-skilled, multi-dimensional manpower for cinema is available in Delhi, coupled with relatively low production costs. The Delhi International airport here is one of the top four airports in the world and is capable of handling chartered flights and big international crews. Furthermore, Delhi Tourism facilitates all required permissions and assistance with film production in Delhi.

Many national and international filmmakers have already shot movies such as Jobs, Gandhi, 3 Idiots, Eat Pray Love, and many more, in Delhi in areas such as Connaught Place, famous monuments, and old Delhi alleys.

What are the protocols in place amidst COVID-19? Can filmmakers and producers do a recce and plan for shoot… Are film shoots allowed now for foreign filmmakers?

The Indian government follows world-standard COVID-19 guidelines. As you are aware, the vast majority of India’s population has been immunised with our two vaccinations, and we are fully in control and have effectively controlled the waves. Everyone is welcome to come to Delhi to explore and recce, and we will provide all necessary assistance. Yes, foreign filmmakers are permitted to shoot through the Film Facilitation Office, and Delhi Tourism is prepared to assist them in any way necessary.

Do you have any sops or incentives to offer to foreign film crews? Do they get concessions for staying in hotels?

Yes, in our Delhi Film Policy – 2022, we have kept a special provision for incentives and subsidies, especially with additional benefits for international filmmakers. The incentives make the Delhi Film Policy very appealing in addition to providing the right environment to shoot films. The Delhi Film Card provides additional support to filmmakers for reasonable accommodation facilities, transport, local professional crews along with safety and security and logistical support.

Tell us more about the single window clearance developed under the new policy.

The Delhi Film Policy offers an e-film clearance system (a completely online single window clearance system) through which an applicant can apply for filming permits in Delhi directly. e – Film Clearance would increase transparency, give time-bound approvals, and improve and speed up collaboration between stakeholders and production companies. The goal is to make doing business in the film industry in Delhi easier.

Do you have a panel of line producers on board?

Line producers are one of the key stakeholders that Delhi Tourism is in constant touch with. We are interacting and taking regular input in order to better understand the requirements and streamline the shooting process.

Do you have a mechanism in place for film producers to contact when they face problems during a film shoot?

As the nodal agency, Delhi Tourism will arrange clearances and support the site alongside its stakeholder partners. For on-the-ground support and facilitation, our single window system will give boarding pass type approvals with contact information for the nodal personnel of the respective sites.

What other initiatives do you have in store for the creative industry and filmmakers to engage with the city?

We will work as Partners in Growth with producers with the vision of ‘Get Connected and Get Engaged’. We would assist the producers in exploring and making films in the unparalleled archeology, architecture, and a cosmopolitan canvas, as well as utilizing local talent and filmic resources. Partnerships and connections will be forged with bodies, members and experts belonging to the film fraternity in India and abroad. Thus there will be exchange of ideas and branding of Delhi as an integral part of the Indian and global film family.


Come, Discover India’s Eternal Beauty

admin   May 18, 2022

India gives filmmakers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to shoot snow, desert storm, and rain all at once. This vast landmass is also home to a diverse population of people of various faiths, castes, and creeds. It is a truly multilingual and multi-ethnic country that provides an excellent backdrop for a filmmaker and scriptwriter to paint their stories with various hues and colours

The Indian subcontinent’s topography is unique. On one side you have mighty Himalayas in the lot from Hindu Kush, and in the south-west the subcontinent stretches to Malabar coast, Western and Eastern ghats—the two long coastlines in this peninsula along the Arabian Sea and also Bay of Bengal which seamlessly mingle with Indian Ocean. India has lush green Gangetic plain and many hill tracks and meandering valleys in between. The country’s river system with rivers like Ganga, Brahmaputra, Krishna and Kaveri is the hotspot of all kinds of cultural activities. Then the country has the largest mangrove forest in the world shared both by India and Bangladesh. When you go to Rajasthan, you find desert, which mingles with the Rann of Kutch, a large area of salt marshes that span the border between India and Pakistan. India’s natural beauty is absolutely unbelievable.

When you look at the climate, you have sub-zero temperatures and somewhere in between you find very warm country and also Monsoon. It gives a unique opportunity to filmmakers to shoot snow, Desert Storm, and rain, all in one go. This huge landmass is also inhabited by a vast population from different faiths, caste and creed. It is truly multilingual and multi-ethnic country that offers a great landscape to a filmmaker and the scriptwriter to paint their stories with different hues and colours.

In 2021, FFO’s mandate has been expa nded to include creat ion of an ecosystem to facilitate various approvals and clearances required in setting up of theatres and execut ion of events by event management age ncies at State and National level.


Top Filming Destinations of India

admin   May 18, 2022

SIKKIM

Adjudged the ‘Most Film Friendly State’ of India in 2019 at the recently-concluded 67th National Film Awards, Sikkim offers picturesque locations like Yumthang Valley, Lachung, Gnathang Valley, numerous Buddhist monasteries and pristine glacial lakes that make for a perfect place to shoot a film. The small Himalayan state with its mesmerizing natural splendors coupled with an investor-friendly policy to make the work of filmmakers easy is extremely alluring.

With its own brief history of cinema, attracting prominent filmmakers like Satyajit Ray and Dev Anand, Sikkim has made several attractive provisions to have a friendly film shooting environment for the producers and directors and also for the local filmmakers. The state is also working towards setting up a film city. Over the past few years, the state, especially the picturesque northern district, has served as the perfect backdrop of several Bollywood films and many regional films.

On the policy front, Sikkim offers all permits/permissions and paperwork through a single window system. The state government has also identified, catalogued and developed promising potential shooting locations, which have aesthetic and cinematic appeal.

MADHYA PRADESH

Winner of Indian government’s national award for the Most Film Friendly State in 2017, the ‘heart of India’, Madhya Pradesh, offers a wide variety of locales, eliminating the role of a set designer. From famous forts, marble rocks of Bheraghat, to the green hills of Pachmarhi, the options are rich and many. The temples of Khajuraho are UNESCO world heritage sites.

The state has made considerable efforts towards easing filming in the state by creating a well-structured website, film friendly infrastructure, offering incentives, maintaining databases, undertaking marketing and promotional initiatives.

Initiatives taken by state for simplification of film production include appointment of Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (MPSTDC) as the nodal agency for film shooting clearance, incentives and subsidies in the state. The tourism department also coordinates with other departments to obtain legal mandatory permissions needed for producers. MPSTDC offers discounts at state owned hotels and free of charge shooting at selected locations. The state also offers capital investment subsidy ranging from Rs 3-5 crores for creation of infrastructure along with installation of equipment to establish film studio, film making, museum, aquarium, and theme parks.

KARNATAKA

This state has the Silicon City of India and a whole array of health spas. A range of architecture depicted through its palaces, temples, mausoleums, monuments and ruins. Sanctuaries, national parks and waterfalls, along with endless beaches, scenic hills and modern cityscapes are abundant here.
The state has come up with the Karnataka Animation Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics Policy (KAVGC) 2017-2022 that addresses skill development, infrastructure growth, ecosystem expansion, marketing support as well as financial concessions and incentives.

The policy has been promoting exports by attracting global production, while at the same time providing impetus to indigenous productions in terms of original IP and short films and start-ups in areas such as game development, virtual reality, augmented reality and educational technology.

In terms of infrastructure, the state is committed to set up a world-class AVGC infrastructure. Karnataka has launched India’s first centre of excellence for AVGC fully equipped with a post-production lab (comprising an incubator, game testing facilities, render farm, etc.) and state-of-the-art equipment.

Home to excellent shooting locales such as Bangalore, Coorg, Gangavathi, Udupi, Badami Caves and Balmuri Falls,among others, the state has been promoting filmmaking through organisation of Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFESl), Innovative International Film Festival, Abstract Synergies International Short Film Festival and Karnataka State Film Awards.

TAMIL NADU

Tamil Nadu has a lot on its platter to offer. While the green fields of Pollachi, heavenly falls of Hogenakkal or the misty magic of Ooty and Kodaikanal offer a visual treat to the eyes, the temples of Madurai, or the beaches of Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari take one to a different world altogether.

Committed to provide world-class film production infrastructure, the state government has upgraded infrastructure at the M.G.R. Film City by setting up an animation and visual effects studio, renovating dubbing theatres, constructing hostels, etc.

The incentives offered by Tamil Nadu include grant of subsidy of Rs. 7 lakhs to quality low-budget Tamil films with social commitment; film awards to the best Tamil feature films, best actors, best actresses and technicians to encourage the Tamil Film Industry; another special prize of Rs. 1.25 lakh, along with a memento and a certificate is awarded to a Tamil film which portrays the dignity of women; a five sovereign gold pendant, a memento and a certificate are presented to the best actors, actresses and technicians.

Awards are also given to Best Dubbing Artistes (both male and female), Best Character Artistes (both male and female), Best Comedy Artistes (both male and female). The artistes appearing in television programmes are also honoured. Small Screen Awards are presented every year to Best Tele Serial, actors, actresses and technicians too.

HIMACHAL PRADESH

From hills to mountains, capped by snowy peaks; punctuated by passes and glaciers, Himachal Pradesh has an abundance of parks, rich with flora and fauna and regions that experience temperature extremes. Himachal Pradesh had always been a popular destination for film industry and had been attracting film makers for the last six decades. Himachal has several scenic locations which are ideal to the film makers especially in the remote belts and the government is making all-out efforts to develop these sites to facilitate the tourists and film makers.

Incentives offered by Himachal Pradesh include 100% tax exemption to films shot in the state; Rs. 10 lakhs provided to interested film makers who can work in the folk dialects of Himachal and Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu and English languages. This includes documentaries of more than 26 minutes and animation films of more than 10 minutes; complimentary facilities and rebates extended to film makers availing government facilities like accommodation, transportation and equipment.

Familiarization (FAM) tours for foreign filmmakers is also be facilitated by the support of the state government.

To promote Himachal Pradesh as a major destination for promoting film making, a film tourism policy is on the anvil. The government is also exploring possibilities of setting up of film studio in the state for promoting film tourism. Organising Film events and festivals like International Film Festival of Shimla, Free Spirit Film Festival – Dharamshala and Dharamshala International Film Festival.

JAMMU AND KASHMIR

Jammu and Kashmir has been a paradise for film shooting for its mesmerizing natural beauty and unparalleled scenic landscapes. The entertainment industry in Jammu and Kashmir took a beating in the past couple of decades despite having a great potential to become a world class film shooting destination, but all that is changing now with government focusing on the revival of cinema halls and developing infrastructure for multiple kinds of entertainment. Besides security, which the government is taking care of, common pre and post production facilities like small studios are also being planned in the state so that low budget films can also be shot in Jammu and Kashmir.

The initiatives taken by the state also include Single window clearance system for granting permission for shooting films within seven days in Kashmir; promoting filming location through a Film Tourism Promotion Committee; waiver of taxes for films shot in the state; and organising film events and festivals like Kashmir World Film Festival, Kashmir International Film Festival, Jammu and Kashmir Festival.

Since M&E sector has a natural potential for the state, the government is planning a mini film city that would have world-class film production infrastructure, and would actually anchor filmmakers and provide them a single touch point from where all their issues will be resolved.


Discover the Joy of Filming in India

admin   May 18, 2022

India now provides a high-quality, turnkey solution to foreign productions. Because of proactive measures taken by the Government of India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, an entire ecosystem awaits foreign productions in India, say leading producers of India who have made India proud by undertaking and successfully implementing some of the most prestigious co-production projects in India

India now offers a high quality, end to end solution to foreign productions. An entire ecosystem awaits foreign productions in India, thanks to proactive measures by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India. India’s diversity allows a filmmaker to tell both India focused and global stories from here. A rural South African exterior or urban London office interior can be recreated right here with equal expertise and ease. As India prepares to bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, renowned film producers who have successfully implemented many international projects in thecountry are hopeful that things would get better in India with production activities attaining the pre-COVID levels aided by enabling film policies, safety protocols being strictly implemented and norms for filming in India further eased to transform foreign producers’ vision to reality.

Alan McAlex
Co-founder, Jar Pictures

With diverse experience in film production, Alan McAlex formed Jar Pictures in 2011 with Ajay G Rai. Together they have been producing commercial and arthouse films. Killa, that opened at the 64th Berlinale in 2015, winning the Crystal Bear; Liar’s Dice, that opened at Sundance and was India’s official submission to the 87th Academy Awards in 2015; and Moothon that opened at TIFF in 2019, are a few titles from their oeuvre.

As a part of Alan’s several individual projects as an Executive Producer, he has worked on Dangal, which was the highest grossing Indian film, as well as the Amazon series Made in Heaven.
In 2019, Alan initiated Production Scope, a company focusing only on production services that started off with A Suitable Boy, a BBC mini-series adapted from author Vikram Seth’s eponymous book, directed by Mira Nair, for which Alan was the co-producer.

Here is what Alan has to say about his experiences of filming in India:

Experience of filming Mira Nair’s Suitable Boy

Every single shot was filmed in India on location. We didn’t create any period sets in studios. That was Mira’s vision- she wanted the look to be as authentic as possible, depicting post-independence India in the series. As a co-producer, I strive to ensure that the Director’s vision is implemented on screen. For A Suitable Boy, we scouted every nook and corner of the historic cities of Lucknow, Kanpur and Maheshwar. We also shot in smaller towns and villages in and around these cities such as Kakori, Mahmudabad etc.

It was amazing to experience the rich heritage of India while shooting at these locations. We shot in several interesting places -tanneries in Kanpur, palaces in Lucknow, forts in Maheshwar. I was quite mesmerized by the beauty of these locations. Every location we shot in had such an interesting history and story attached to it.

Lucknow also had a rich collection of vintage cars that were an extremely important part of creating the 1950s’ visual experience on screen. We didn’t realize it at first, but these cars were very popular. On days when we shot with the cars, we had huge crowds gather just to see these cars. Our crew also enjoyed posing with these cars when they weren’t filming.

How has India’s outlook changed vis-a-vis foreign productions

In recent times, when foreign producers look at India, they see much more than a country where they shoot one offs such as a Gandhi or a Slumdog Millionaire, in which the script requires a film to be shot here.

India now offers an entire ecosystem for foreign productions. India’s diversity allows a filmmaker to tell both India focused and global stories from here. We are able to recreate say a rural South African exterior, or urban London office interior right here.

Productions are also more attracted to India because the overall risk of filming here has gone down significantly. With the formation of the FFO, we have a one-stop-shop to obtain clearances and support. We’ve always been a cost-effective destination for production and now there’s an abundance of talent and skilled professionals in our industry as well. We also have superb post-production and VFX capabilities. India now offers a high quality, end to end solution to foreign productions.

Advantage India for filming in the aftermath of pandemic

Efforts of the government and vigilance of the people have helped keep fatality rate relatively low. Things will slowly but surely get back to pre-pandemic levels. As long as we’re vigilant and keep flattening the curve, filmmakers will be more confident about shooting in India. We have a cost advantage which definitely gives us an upper hand in these difficult financial times. In the long term, India will certainly be back as one of the top destinations of choice for filmmakers.

Projects in Pipeline

We’re already planning several projects. These are a mix of international and domestic projects. There are several companies that offer COVID safety protocols that are at par or even exceed global practices. It’s quite amazing to see the market react such quickly to offer these solutions.

Visible changes after the formation of Film Facilitation Office

When it comes to international productions helmed by companies here in India, the onus to deliver all expectations smoothly is on us and that includes visas for the foreign crew, shoot permissions, initial project clearance formalities with Ministry of Information & Broadcasting to name a few. FFO has been the singular point for all these crucial parts and speed up the process, right from liaising with the visa office to sanctioning permissions for filming in desired regions of the country. Once we have these clearances we can seek local authorities’ permissions for the respective locations.

Thoughts on Co-production Treaties

Co-production treaties are extremely helpful in creating the right incentives for filmmakers to shoot in India. Having foreign films made in India helps promote the local economy and tourism in the country. It’s a win-win situation.

We already have treaties with 15 countries, but it would be nicer to have more, because nowadays, film making is an exceedingly global endeavor. In addition to co-productions, production services is also an area that the government can look at for incentivization. In my experience, sometimes the incentives, especially the State/local ones, are limited to feature films. With the advent of digital platforms, there is an opportunity to expand those incentives to web series as well.

All in all, we’re on the right track and I am confident we’ll get better and it will definitely be advantage India!

Dileep Singh Rahtore
CEO and Co-founder, On The Road Production

Born and raised in Rajasthan, Dileep Singh Rahtore is highly regarded as a production expert in the Indian and South Asian region with over 20 years of experience facilitating international feature projects, award winning documentaries, commercials and high-end photography projects for American, European and Asian studios and production companies.

Dileep’s experience as Producer/Line Producer extends throughout South Asia and has filmed in Russia, France and USA. Some of his feature credits include Batman: The Dark Knight Rises, The Way Back, Blood Diamond, Hexe Lilli, Eight Miles High among others.

Here is what Dileep has to say about his experiences of filming in India:

Experience of filming Tenet and The Dark Knight in India

The Dark Knight was shot in Jodhpur and the film required a very different kind of location. So we had to prepare the backdrop of Mehrangarh because of the filming requirements. To shoot the film, we had to completely shut down the entry to the Fort for tourist visits for the whole day. We had to make a special arrangement with the royal family of Jodhpur. We would shoot the film during day and open the fort for the public during night. We shot there for 6 to 7 days and then achieved what Mr Nolan wanted to.

Similarly, for Tenet it was very challenging to shoot here in Mumbai. Without the support of the Maharashtra government we could not have achieved what we did. The government got us all the permits for shooting at a landmark location like Gateway of India. We had a huge crew of over 1,500 people and a part of the Gateway of India was frozen.

We cordoned off the area with the help of the transport department that diverted the traffic and we finished the shooting without any issue. The building where we were shooting was a high rise building and to light around 40 buildings around for a fortnight to shoot an action sequence was a mammoth task that was accomplished with the help of the state government, local crew and our international technicians. Mr Nolan left India on a very positive note.

How has India’s outlook changed vis-avis foreign productions

Some of the major changes include the ways the government supports the industry. There has been a significant change in the government mindset and now they are more forthcoming in inviting international filmmakers to come and shoot in India. Earlier, government officials were quiet skeptical and used to be very critical about film productions. Even the Information and Broadcasting Ministry permissions used to take anywhere between 6 to 14 weeks and we had to make many rounds to Delhi. But now the production process has really eased off with the government taking it very positively.

Also, earlier we used to bring a lot of crew from abroad as the local crew was not very efficient. But now any international company brings only the key members while the rest of the crew is sourced from India itself. Also, they used to come with a lot of equipment. There used to be a ‘J-Visa’ for filmakers and crew that was complicated and confusing because the J-Visa was mainly for journalistic work in India. Also, the visa process was time consuming. Now the government has introduced a new category of visa called Film Visa which is very easy to get and the process is quite transparent.

Visible changes after the formation of Film Facilitation Office

The government set up the Film Facilitation Office as an example to give foreign filmmakers confidence that they can come and shoot in India. The role of Film Facilitation Office has been very important as they did all the heavy lifting and worked as hard as us when we were shooting for Tenet. The FFO helped us get all the permissions, whether it was from the Aviation Ministry, Defense Ministry or Information and Broadcasting Ministry. They were working very closely with us shoulder to shoulder. They also played a key role in making all the right introductions and coordinated with the state government to get all the clearances.

Three things that attract global productions to India

The first is story, the second is locations and the third most important thing is the dollar value, as shooting as also the skill set in India is a lot cheaper than many other countries. We can build a lot of sets at cheaper, rates. The day India becomes as expensive as any other place, fewer people would come to shoot here. They will only come if the story is related with India or
for an interesting location.

Thoughts on incentivize filming and Co-production Treaties

The incentive plan is not there yet but talks are going on. Almost two years back in Goa, a lot of states like like Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat talked about incentives. They have incentives for local filmmakers but I don’t think there is any significant incentive for international filmmakers. We are in talks with the Rajasthan Government and Uttar Pradesh Government but I don’t think there is anything in place as of now.

Shooting in Indian states

Every state now is connected to the FFO office in Delhi, which has placed nodal a officer in every state. I think they are all coordinating. Recently, I got in shooting in their respective states? touch with the FFO office for scouting filming locations and they were very happy to help me in connecting with a lot of people. They are making a coordinated effort to ensure that everybody is together on the same page.

Pravesh Sahni
Co-founder, ITOP Film Productions Pvt Ltd

Pravesh Sahni, Co-founder of 25-yearold ITOP Film Productions Pvt Ltd, has executed production services for Oscar winners like Slumdog Millionaire, Life of Pi, Zero Dark Thirty and Lion in India.
ITOP also did production services in India for Netflix’s action thriller Extraction.

Here is what Pravesh shares with us about his experiences of filming in India:

Experience of shooting of Netflix’s Extraction in India

Extraction was one of our first international films which was full of action and stunt sequences. The Gujarat Government helped us to a great extent in cordoning off the roads during shoot to
make the entire process for our Director Sam Hargrave and Netflix US a dream come true. We are thankful to Netflix US in trusting us with their first project in India.It is only because we could deliver and make things happen that they trusted us for facilitating the production of their next film called White Tiger, which is due for release in December 2020.

Visible changes after the formation of Film Facilitation Office

Things have really changed a lot. The NFDC is a big support and backs the Indian producers. Now we have a government organization that understands the problems we face. We have solved many problems, but honestly a lot still needs to be done to achieve the goal we want to.

Three things that attract global productions to India

We have amazing locations in India, with professional technical crew able to match the highest international standards. The cost of shooting is far cheaper here than other countries like the US, UK and Europe. If we have an incentive program in place, we would be even more competitive.

Thoughts on incentivize filming in India

We have been waiting for the incentive scheme for very long. I have been a key member of the film fraternity who is helping draft this policy with the government. I hope it comes out soon as we
will need the incentives to get productions rolling smoothly. It is also needed to compete with other countries.

Déborah Benattar
Executive Producer and Founder La Fabrique Films

After working as the audiovisual attache for the French Embassy in India from 2010 to 2013 in Mumbai, Déborah Benattar founded La Fabrique Films in 2013, a Production company based in Mumbai, India. La Fabrique Films manages and executes projects all over India & Sri Lanka with a team of strong & experienced professionals working on feature films, TV series, documentaries & commercials.
Her international projects include feature films like “And tomorrow you will be dead” directed by Michael Steiner; “The best is yet to come” directed by Alexandre de la Patelliere et Matthieu Delaporte; “Fahim” directed by Pierre-Francois Martin-Laval; Maya directed by Mia Hansen-Love. Her Documentary Film “Animal”, directed by Cyril Dion, was selected for the Cinema for the Climate Section at Cannes Film Festival 2021.

Here is what Déborah has to say about her experiences of filming in India:

What fascinates her about India?

India is fascinating as it has an incredible variety of landscapes to offer. And apart from the variety of locations, one of the main advantages India has compared to several foreign countries, is that the technical crews are very skilled and experienced. It is always a great collaboration between the foreign and the Indian crew.

Visible changes after the formation of Film Facilitation Office

The Film Facilitation Office (FFO) has tremendously improved and speeded the permission process for international projects as well as the delivery of film visas for the cast and crew. We are hoping
to see similar improvements in terms of permissions with other institutions: Indian Railways, ASI, DGCA, etc.

Thoughts on incentivising filming in India and Co-production Treaties

Once the government introduces incentives like other foreign countries, India will definitely become one of the best shooting destinations in the world. Also, we would really appreciate it if the government took care of a few hiccups like streamlining the taxation processes to make it a win-win for all.

On filming in post-COVID India

The lockdown time has allowed us to become more creative and work more digitally. But we are very thrilled to go back to shoot and allow foreign and Indian crew to collaborate as they share the same passion for cinema.


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Now, Shoot at Sight in India!

admin   February 14, 2022

As India emerges out of global pandemic, the red carpet has been rolled out for the global filmmaking community while ensuring that all safety protocols are in place, and the processes of permissions further eased under the Ease of Doing Business policy to make filmmaking a beautiful experience in the world’s largest filmmaking country

As India readies itself to take on the challenges of a post-Covid world, the largest filmmaking country in the world is once again rolling out the red carpet to the global filmmaking community to explore the beauty of filming in India.

To make filming in India a memorable experience, the Government of India has put in place all safety protocols for COVID, while also ensuring to provide a seamless process to facilitate fimmakers.

The FFO functions as a partner through the filmmaker’s journey from script to screen. Using FFO’s online ecosystem http://www.ffo.gov.in for filming has gained traction in the post-Covid era.

“India is a land of story-tellers, breath-taking landscapes and rich in filmic resources. Our Film in India initiative leverages this in creating an environment that will make India a content sub-continent of the world. Come shoot in India, collaborate with our content creators and take advantage of our skilled manpower, cost efficiency and world-class post-production facilities,” says Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting and Youth Affairs & Sports.

As a result of some serious efforts put in by the Film Facilitation Office (FFO), more than 120 international filming projects have come to India from different parts of the world. Many projects were taken up on co-production basis not only in the film sector, but also in the broadcasting and television sector. India has co-production and bilateral agreements with around 30 countries across the world.

“Under the Government’s ease of doing business initiative, the FFO is the single window which assists in obtaining filming permissions. In this Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav we invite filmmakers to shoot in this beautiful landscape of our country, from the mighty Himalayas in the North to the scenic temples and beaches of Mahabalipuram,” says Dr L Murugan, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting and Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.

“The Film Facilitation Office has emerged as the one-stop solution for filming needs of producers in India and abroad. It has helped almost 127 film production companies to shoot in India from abroad. So I will urge all the film producers from abroad and within the country to reach out to the Film Facilitation Office of NFDC to come and shoot in the beautiful locations of India,” says Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

Welcoming the global filmmaking community to explore “the beauty of filming in India”, Neerja Sekhar, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, says, “We would like to reach out to the world community to showcase how ready we are to welcome you all. The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has taken the lead in creating opportunities for international filmmakers to come and create content in India and take advantage of its ecosphere of filmic resources and its fast growing Animation, VFX, Gaming, Comics (AVGC) sector. The International Film Festival of India and the Film Bazaar have enabled the increasing acceptance of Indian content among global audiences. There is an enabling environment for the international film industry to unlock its narrative in India!”

India is blessed with scenic locations, incredible cultural diversity, trained film crews and low production costs, which is coupled with film friendly policies. Owing to these advantages many overseas studios are increasingly entering into arrangements with producers in India to jointly produce films and television series. India also allows Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) upto 100 percent for film and TV productions under the automatic route.

“We are committed towards the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting’s initiative of Filming in India under the Government of India’s Ease of Doing Business. NFDC through the FFO is constantly engaging with various Central Government Ministries/Departments and the State Governments to not only ease the filming process but also setting up a mechanism that will enable the FFO to address grievances pertaining to filming and track receipt of incentives on behalf of filmmakers,” says Ravinder Bhakar MD, National Film Development Corporation and CEO, Central Board of FIlm Certification.

He adds that filmmakers can apply for permits for location recce, shooting in monuments under the jurisdiction of Archaeological Survey of India and locations under the Ministry of Railways at ease through the FFO. “We look forward to welcoming producers and production companies from across the world to shoot their Feature Films, TV and Web shows and series in India,” he says.

“As many as 18 international projects were given permission during these pandemic times thus showing the support given to filmmakers. The shoot of the official Indo-Bangladesh co-production Bangabandhu was successfully completed and currently crew members from France, US, UK, Nigeria, Canada etc. are in the process of obtaining Film Visa to travel to India for shooting various projects,” says Vikramjit Roy, Head-Film Facilitation Office (FFO).  

As the government has become an important stakeholder in the film ecosystem in India, the establishment of FFO in 2016 has ensured that the processes of permissions and other support services become much faster and streamlined in India.

FFO has an online system in place to receive and process all applications of international as well as domestic producers. FFO has also set up its own network of nodal officers in various state governments, besides integrating its system with quite a few states and central ministries to facilitate clearances.


Filming in India, Destinations of States

admin   February 14, 2022

SIKKIM

The small Himalayan state with its mesmerizing natural splendors coupled with an investor-friendly policy to make the work of filmmakers easy is extremely alluring

Winner of Indian government’s national award for the Most Film Friendly State in 2017, the ‘heart of India’, Madhya Pradesh, offers a wide variety of locales, eliminating the role of a set designer. From famous forts, marble rocks of Bheraghat, to the green hills of Pachmarhi, the options are rich and many. The temples of Khajuraho are UNESCO world heritage sites.

Adjudged the ‘Most Film Friendly State’ of India in 2019 at the recently-concluded 67th National Film Awards, Sikkim offers picturesque locations like Yumthang Valley, Lachung, Gnathang Valley, numerous Buddhist monasteries and pristine glacial lakes that make for a perfect place to shoot a film. The small Himalayan state with its mesmerizing natural splendors coupled with an investor-friendly policy to make the work of filmmakers easy is extremely alluring.

With its own brief history of cinema, attracting prominent filmmakers like Satyajit Ray and Dev Anand, Sikkim has made several attractive provisions to have a friendly film shooting environment for the producers and directors and also for the local filmmakers. The state is also working towards setting up a film city. Over the past few years, the state, especially the picturesque northern district, has served as the perfect backdrop of several Bollywood films and many regional films.

On the policy front, Sikkim offers all permits/permissions and paperwork through a single window system. The state government has also identified, catalogued and developed promising potential shooting locations, which have aesthetic and cinematic appeal.

MADHYA PRADESH

The state has made considerable efforts towards easing filming in the state by creating a well-structured website, film friendly infrastructure, offering incentives, maintaining databases, undertaking marketing and promotional initiatives.

The State has made considerable efforts towards easing filming in the State by creating a well-structured web site, film friendly infrastructure, offering incentives, maintaining databases, undertaking marketing and promotional initiatives.

Initiatives taken by State for simplification of film production include appointment of Madhya Pradesh State Tourism Development Corporation (Tourism Department) as the nodal Agency for film shooting clearance, incentives and subsidies in the State. The Tourism Department also coordinates with other Departments to obtain legal mandatory permissions needed for producers. Tourism Department offers discounts at State Government owned hotels and free of charge shooting at selected locations.

KARNATAKA

Home to excellent shooting locales such as Bangalore, Coorg, Gangavathi, Udupi, Badami Caves and Balmuri Falls,among others, the state has been promoting filmmaking through organisation of Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFESl)

This state has the Silicon City of India and a whole array of health spas. A range of architecture depicted through its palaces, temples, mausoleums, monuments and ruins. Sanctuaries, national parks and waterfalls, along with endless beaches, scenic hills and modern cityscapes are abundant here.

The state has come up with the Karnataka Animation Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics Policy (KAVGC) 2017-2022 that addresses skill development, infrastructure growth, ecosystem expansion, marketing support as well as financial concessions and incentives.

The policy has been promoting exports by attracting global production, while at the same time providing impetus to indigenous productions in terms of original IP and short films and start-ups in areas such as game development, virtual reality, augmented reality and educational technology.

In terms of infrastructure, the state is committed to set up a world-class AVGC infrastructure. Karnataka has launched India’s first centre of excellence for AVGC fully equipped with a post-production lab (comprising an incubator, game testing facilities, render farm, etc.) and state-of-the-art equipment.

Home to excellent shooting locales such as Bangalore, Coorg, Gangavathi, Udupi, Badami Caves and BalmuriFalls,among others, the state has been promoting filmmaking through organisation of Bengaluru International Film Festival (BIFFESl), Innovative International Film Festival, Abstract Synergies International Short Film Festival and Karnataka State Film Awards.

TAMIL NADU

Committed to provide world-class film production infrastructure, the state government has upgraded infrastructure at the MGR. Film City by setting up an animation and visual effects studio and  renovating dubbing theatres

Tamil Nadu has a lot on its platter to offer. While the green fields of Pollachi, heavenly falls of Hogenakkal or the misty magic of Ooty and Kodaikanal offer a visual treat to the eyes, the temples of Madurai, or the beaches of Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari take one to a different world altogether.

Committed to provide world-class film production infrastructure, the state government has upgraded infrastructure at the M.G.R. Film City by setting up an animation and visual effects studio, renovating dubbing theatres, constructing hostels, etc.

The incentives offered by Tamil Nadu include grant of subsidy of Rs. 7 lakhs to quality low-budget Tamil films with social commitment; film awards to the best Tamil feature films, best actors, best actresses and technicians to encourage the Tamil Film Industry; another special prize of Rs. 1.25 lakh, along with a memento and a certificate is awarded to a Tamil film which portrays the dignity of women; a five sovereign gold pendant, a memento and a certificate are presented to the best actors, actresses and technicians.

 Awards are also given to Best Dubbing Artistes (both male and female), Best Character Artistes (both male and female), Best Comedy Artistes (both male and female). The artistes appearing in television programmes are also honoured. Small Screen Awards are presented every year to Best Tele Serial, actors, actresses and technicians too.

HIMACHAL PRADESH

Incentives offered by Himachal Pradesh include 100% tax exemption to films shot in the state; Rs. 10 lakhs provided to interested film makers who can work in the folk dialects of Himachal and Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu and English languages

From hills to mountains, capped by snowy peaks; punctuated by passes and glaciers, Himachal Pradesh has an abundance of parks, rich with flora and fauna and regions that experience temperature extremes. Himachal Pradesh had always been a popular destination for film industry and had been attracting film makers for the last six decades. Himachal has several scenic locations which are ideal to the film makers especially in the remote belts and the government is making all-out efforts to develop these sites to facilitate the tourists and film makers.

Incentives offered by Himachal Pradesh include100% tax exemption to films shot in the state; Rs. 10 lakhs provided to interested film makers who can work in the folk dialects of Himachal and Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu and English languages. This includes documentaries of more than 26 minutes and animation films of more than 10 minutes; complimentary facilities and rebates extended to film makers availing government facilities like accommodation, transportation and equipment.

Familiarization (FAM) tours for foreign filmmakers is also be facilitated by the support of the state government.

To promote Himachal Pradesh as a major destination for promoting film making, a film tourism policy is on the anvil. The government is also exploring possibilities of setting up of film studio in the state for promoting film tourism. Organising Film events and festivals like International Film Festival of Shimla, Free Spirit Film Festival – Dharamshala and Dharamshala International Film Festival.

JAMMU & KASHMIR

The initiatives taken by the state also include Single window clearance system for granting permission for shooting films within seven days in Kashmir; promoting filming location through a Film Tourism Promotion Committee

Jammu and Kashmir has been a paradise for film shooting for its mesmerizing natural beauty and unparalleled scenic landscapes. The entertainment industry in Jammu and Kashmir took a beating in the past couple of decades despite having a great potential to become a world class film shooting destination, but all that is changing now with government focusing on the revival of cinema halls and developing infrastructure for multiple kinds of entertainment. Besides security, which the government is taking care of, common pre and post production facilities like small studios are also being planned in the state so that low budget films can also be shot in Jammu and Kashmir.

The initiatives taken by the state also include Single window clearance system for granting permission for shooting films within seven days in Kashmir; promoting filming location through  a Film Tourism Promotion Committee;  waiver of taxes for films shot in the state;  and organising film events and festivals like Kashmir World Film Festival, Kashmir International Film Festival, Jammu and Kashmir Festival.

Since M&E sector has a natural potential for the state, the government is planning a mini film city that would have world-class film production infrastructure, and would actually anchor filmmakers and provide them a single touch point from where all their issues will be resolved.


The Wonder that is India

admin   February 14, 2022

India offers a unique opportunity to filmmakers to shoot snow, Desert Storm, and rain, all in one go

The Indian subcontinent’s topography is unique. On one side you have mighty Himalayas in the lot from Hindu Kush, and in the south-west the subcontinent stretches to Malabar coast, Western and Eastern ghats—the two long coastlines in this peninsula along the Arabian Sea and also Bay of Bengal which seamlessly mingle with Indian Ocean. India has lush green Gangetic plain and many hill tracks and meandering valleys in between. The country’s river system with rivers like Ganga, Brahmaputra, Krishna and Kaveri is the hotspot of all kinds of cultural activities. Then the country has the largest mangrove forest in the world shared both by India and Bangladesh. When you go to Rajasthan, you find desert, which mingles with the Rann of Kutch, a large area of salt marshes that span the border between India and Pakistan. India’s natural beauty is absolutely unbelievable.

When you look at the climate, you have sub-zero temperatures and somewhere in between you find very warm country and also Monsoon. It gives a unique opportunity to filmmakers to shoot snow, Desert Storm, and rain, all in one go. This huge landmass is also inhabited by a vast population from different faiths, caste and creed. It is truly multilingual and multi-ethnic country that offers a great landscape to a filmmaker and the scriptwriter to paint their stories with different hues and colours.


Featured Post

India Rolls out Red Carpet to Foreign Filmmakers

admin   September 7, 2021

India, land of beautiful locales and great talents, has reopened its doors for filming in India for global producers and studios. Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), is currently accepting online applications for foreign producers to shoot in India
At the recent India Global Week 2020 address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India is laying a red carpet for all global companies to come and establish their presence here. Very few countries will offer the kind of opportunities that India does today. India has opened doors for filming in the country, easing the permission process, a single film visa and facilitate single window clearance systems.

India is committed to welcome the global film community to come and do business in the country and work closely with the domestic media and entertainment industry.

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting views cinema as the ‘soft power’ of India, and is working towards making India as film shooting and film friendly destination for the audiovisual sector.

“Our Film Facilitation Office has facilitated over 80 foreign film shootings. Now, it will function as a single window for all Central and State government permissions. I appeal to the global film fraternity, to come invest and shoot in India,” said Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javdekar in a recent interactive session.

At the recent India Global Week 2020 address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India is laying a red carpet for all global companies to come and establish their presence here. Very few countries will offer the kind of opportunities that India does today. India has opened doors for filming in the country, easing the permission process, a single film visa and facilitate single window clearance systems.

The M&E industry is one of the champion sectors, enabling the vision of the Prime Minister to achieve a $5 trillion economy. India has enabled digital transformation by increasing economic freedom for the traditional M&E business.

In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, Indian film locales have captured the attention of global producers and viewers.
Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ (Produced by Warner Bros’) for filming portions of the movie in Mumbai. Mira Nair’s TV series ‘A Suitable Boy’, a six-episode, 349-minute long series, adapted from Vikram Seth’s classic novel, was extensively shot in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, India. It is currently streamed on Netflix across the world and BBC One (in UK and Ireland). Netlflix’s action thriller ‘Extraction’ starring Chris Hemsworth was filmed in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Netflix has revealed that ‘Extraction’ tops the list in its 10 most-watched original movies of all time, as of today.

Now that the Government of India has opened business visas for overseas companies to travel into the country, global film producers and studios with Film Visa are exploring options to come and film in India. The aviation restrictions have been lifted for foreign business travellers and companies into India.

Already, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has announced guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for film shooting and media production in the country. Various State governments have also issued SOPs for film shooting in their respective States detailing dos and don’ts aligning with prevailing local Covid conditions.

Italian filmmaker and producer Sergio Scapagnini is soon set to shoot in India for the new India-Italy co-produced film directed by Goutham Ghose. UK-based Collin Burrows of Film Treats Production is looking to film in India for forthcoming project. Late last year, Paramount Pictures had announced producing web series ‘The Bear’ for Apple TV to be shot in Madhya Pradesh. The Hollywood project was based on a bestseller novel by Gregory David Roberts ‘Shantaram’.

In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, Indian film locales have captured the attention of global producers and viewers.

“Opportunities exist for great visuals, well written scripts and award worthy acting, but what the Internet has taught us is that consumers want every type of story. The government has allowed hundred per cent foreign direct investment in the filmic content productions. This sector has the potential to create thousands of jobs including opportunities for the unskilled and semi skilled workforce. The incentives under the champion sector scheme will be open not only to film shooting, but also for TV web series filming and foreign filming,” said TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, participating in a recent interactive session.

“I’m very fond of saying that my country has as diverse locations, whatever you want to see in a film, whether it is the mountain, the river, the sea, the island, the desert the crowds and post production facilities, you name it, we have it and you need only one visa to see it all for tourism and one visa for shooting.” said Kalyani.

Speaking about the internet revolutionising the entertainment sector, Kalyani said that India has enabled digital transformation by increasing economic freedom for the traditional Media and Entertainment businesses to operate. They are also nudging the industry for a better quality of service. The best example for this is that the OTT segment has grown phenomenally during the pandemic, she added.

The Media and Entertainment sector through innovation consistently has the potential to create jobs, especially in new areas of animation, gaming, etc. “The government has allowed 100 per cent FDI in film content productions. This sector has the potential to create thousands of jobs including opportunities for the skilled and semiskilled workers,” she said.

In the aftermath of Covid-19, India has announced Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for media production and film and TV shooting.

Soon, incentives under the champion sector scheme will be open to films, TV and web series filming. The guidelines are currently being finalised by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, acts as a single point of contact for filmmakers to get all the relevant information about India’s film industry ecosystem, and help them navigate through filming guidelines of key Central government Ministries and State governments.

To bring more transparency, coherence and convenience, FFO’s web portal www.ffo.gov.in equips filmmakers to submit their applications online.

FFO acts as a facilitation point for the foreign producers and production companies along with their Indian Producer/Line Producer in assisting them to get requisite permissions, disseminate information on shooting locations and the facilities available with the Indian film Industry for production/post production. FFO also works closely with State governments in assisting them set up similar facilities. Visa facilitation is available in over 120 Indian Embassies and Consulates across the world.

Global producers and crews with Film Visa can get to shoot in India and this Visa facilitation is available in over 120 Indian Embassies and Consulates across the world

FFO is currently accepting online applications for foreign producers to shoot in India. FFO which was set up with a view to promote and facilitate film shootings by foreign filmmakers in India has also been extended to Indian filmmakers as well.

Alan McAlex of Jar Pictures and Production Scope, whose services started off with A Suitable Boy, a BBC mini-series adapted from author Vikram Seth’s eponymous book, directed by Mira Nair, says, “India now offers an entire ecosystem for foreign productions. India’s diversity allows a filmmaker to tell both India focused and global stories from here. We are able to recreate say a rural South African exterior, or urban London office interior right here.”

According to Pravesh Sahni, Co-founder of 25-year-old ITOP Film Productions Pvt Ltd and worked on projects including the sensational Extraction, “We have amazing locations in India, with professional technical crew to meet up with International Standards. The cost of shooting is far cheaper here than other countries like the US, the UK and Europe.”

Dileep Singh Rathore, CEO and Co-founder of On The Road Production, says when he got in touch with the FFO office for scouting filming locations in India, they were very happy to help him in connecting with a lot of people. He said they are making a coordinated effort to ensure that everybody is together on the same page.

Rathore, India’s most successful Line Producer for leading Hollywood Studios and European filmmakers, confirmed to Pickle that global producers are “expediting the process” to film in India in the new scenario of opening business to overseas companies.

Rathore’s On the Road India was the line producer for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (produced by Warner Bros) for filming portions of the movie in Mumbai.

“We are constantly getting calls over the last some days on filming in India,” says Rathore. “Interest to film in India is top in the radar of global producers. I am very optimistic that foreign film projects which were stalled in the beginning of the year will soon get activated.”

Another leading line producer stated that in recent times Film Visas have streamlined foreign film shooting in India. “Quick visa clearances for the foreign crew is one of the reasons why more foreign filmmakers are coming to shoot in India. For shooting in India, foreign filmmakers have to get clearance from the I&B Ministry. The Ministry officials coordinate with the Indian embassies abroad, and help in getting visa clearances faster.”

Over 118 international films have been shot in the last four years and the FFO has been offering all support to filmmakers to shoot in India. The country is now all set to emerge the favourite destination of foreign filmmakers post Covid.

Soon, incentives under the champion sector scheme will be open to films, TV and web series filming and post production services. The guidelines are currently being finalised by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India