Driven by a Film Policy conducive for filmmakers and directors, the Most Film Friendly State of India is counting big on its pristine locales, friendly people and good law and order along with several sops to promote filmmaking in the state. In this exclusive interview with PICKLE, Chief Minister of Uttarakhand, TRIVENDRA SINGH RAWAT, spells out the clear priorities of his government to make Uttarakhand a magnet for filmmakers from across the globe. By Arun Kumar Das
Congratulations! Uttarakhand has bagged the National Award for Most Film Friendly State in 2018. How do you see this achievement?
It is a matter of pride that Uttarakhand has received the top award during the 66th National Film Award ceremony for being the Most Film-Friendly State in India. The Uttarakhand Film Development Council was formed in the year 2015. But despite having so little time at its disposal, a favourable atmosphere was created for filmmakers/directors to shoot their films in the state. With the first prize at the National Film Awards, we hope that more films will now be shot in Uttarakhand. To ensure this, the state government has implemented an attractive film policy keeping in view various facilities that can be availed by filmmakers. In the investment conference held in the state last year, suggestions were also made by the filmmakers from India and abroad, after which the comprehensive Film Policy 2019 was implemented by the state government.
Since Uttarakhand is one of the most beautiful film locales in the world, what steps are being taken by the state government to attract global filmmakers and production houses to the state?
The state government has made its Film Policy attractive, which includes the single window shooting permission. Now no fee is being charged for shooting in the state. Under the new film policy, a provision of providing a grant up to Rs 1.5 crore has been put in place. Along with this, free of cost police protection during the duration of film shooting and the provision of residential arrangement for shooting crew with 50 per cent discount in local government guest houses for the entire shooting period has also been made. With these facilities in place, we hope that more and more filmmakers will come here to shoot their films.
According to you what are the advantages of getting a film shot in Uttarakhand?
The serene environment of Uttarakhand state is suitable for shooting films. We have some of the best scenic natural sites here, which are apt for shooting. Our people are peace-loving. No production team or artist faces any behavioural challenge from locals while shooting here. The state offers the best law and order situation across India. Currently, many air services are directly connected to Dehradun, which is convenient for filmmakers.
What is your message to the global film producers to come and shoot?
I believe that Uttarakhand is not only suitable for shooting Bollywood films, but Hollywood films as well. Recently, Discovery Channel’s most popular programme, Man vs Wild, was shot in Uttarakhand, which featured Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi. Apart from this, the famous Hollywood actor Will Smith also came here to shoot a film. That is why I would call upon the global filmmakers and directors to come to Uttarakhand without any hesitation and shoot their films here. The state government will provide all possible support to them.
Is Single Window Clearance a reality in Uttarakhand? What has been the experience of dealing with foreign filmmakers?
For the shooting of films in the state, we have implemented a system of Single Window Clearance, which has yielded favourable outcomes for the state. A large number of films have been shot in the state since the system has been activated. Since 2017, more than 220 films, TV serials, documentaries, web series, etc, have been shot in the state. So far, film producers/directors from Japan, France and Hollywood have shot their films in the state. They all have had a pleasant experience.
Do you have any sops or incentives to offer to foreign film crews? Do they get concession staying in hotels?
No proposal or suggestion has been received by the state government from foreign filmmaker directors regarding providing such assistance or encouragement. So far, those foreign film producers/directors who have shot their films in the state, have also not proposed any such thing to us. If any such suggestion comes before the state government, then every possible support will be provided in this regard. Hotels, guest houses under the state government have been providing filmmakers with a discount of 50 per cent on accommodations.
Do you have a panel of line producers on board?
A database is being prepared by the Uttarakhand Film Development Council, compiling details of all local artists, technicians, line producers, lyricists, writers, etc.
What other initiatives do you have in store for the creative industry and filmmakers to engage with the state?
Our government has given special attention to road connectivity. Better road connectivity to various cities has been maintained from Jollygrant Airport in Dehradun. The benefit of all these will be given to the filmmakers/directors coming to shoot films in the state.
The film shooting locales in the hill state can generate economic activities but for that, there is a need for ease of doing business mechanism. We understand this very well that the number of films shot in the state will give a boost to our tourism business. At the same time, the state will also get a new identity in the country and abroad. In view of the increasing interest of directors and filmmakers in the state, we have decided that films will be given the industry status in the state. Work has been started in this direction. This will increase employment opportunities at the local level.
CONTACT NODAL OFFICER FOR SHOOTING IN UTTARAKHAND
Uttarakhand Film Development Council