The Film Facilitation Office set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in NFDC is going all out to ensure that foreign filmmakers don’t face any hassle while shooting their movies in the country. Christopher Nolan recently shot his film Tenet in Mumbai in a smooth manner and his team is all praise for the Indian officials for their support
Gone are the days when shooting in India was a herculean task for foreign filmmakers. Things have changed for good with the formation of Film Facilitation Office (FFO), which is rendering all support to directors and producers from abroad to make their movies in India.
A classic example is Tenet, the Warner Bros produced Christopher Nolan film which was shot recently with ease in Mumbai, called as the business capital of India and home to Bollywood (Hindi cinema), thanks to facilitation provided by FFO. Over 160 foreign crew members, 600 Indian crew members and 2000 extras were part of the film helmed by Nolan.
This is New India and people are ready to help anytime, feel foreign filmmakers who have lately shot their movies in the sub-continent, land of colourful amalgamations of different cultures, multiple locations and beautiful backdrops.
And, the support by FFO is immense, which is rolling out red carpet to foreign filmmakers to make their vision a reality in India, with all ease.
Nolan’s shoot in Mumbai was rather extensive and ambitious. But, the filmmaker and his team didn’t feel the difficulty at all, despite shooting the movie in busy areas. In fact, the director wrapped up his shoot in well under a week.
Interestingly, Nolan had earlier shot his Batman: The Dark Knight Rises in Jodhpur, Rajasthan.
Tenet stars John David-Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Clemence Poesy, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Dimple Kapadia with Kenneth Branagh and Michael Caine. Tipped to be an action thriller, it is slated to hit theatres next year, on July 17, 2020.
Says Dileep Singh Rathore, the India producer of Tenet: “I recently completed a six-day schedule of Tenet in India, and it was only possible because we got the permissions in time. As someone who has faced a lot of trouble in getting permissions in the past, now, it feels like a red carpet has been rolled out for foreign projects in India. I have four other international projects in the pipeline to shoot in India.”
According to Rathore, “We were super excited by the coordination and facilitation provided by Film Facilitation Office set-up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the state of Maharashtra. It’s best of the facilitation one could get for a film shoot. We are extremely thankful to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India and the co-ordinators at FFO and B A Gagrani, Principal Secretary at the Chief Minister’s Office, Government of Maharashtra. They were instrumental in getting all the permission clearances. This time for the first time, I saw that every department was accountable and FFO office was extremely supportive and they did wonders. I have to specifically point out FFO’s intervention in getting permission from Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) which provides permission for aerial shootings in the country. We could use helicopter for the Tenet film shoot.”
If figures are anything to go by, at least half-a-dozen foreign projects are currently being made 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,.” says a leading line producer.
It is to be noted that the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, in 2017, consulted the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs, and introduced a special visa category for foreign filmmakers. Also, as foreign filmmakers often want to capture aerial scenes, a separate department has been introduced to cater to these requests. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) provides permission for aerial shootings in the country.
Earlier, getting the permission to shoot in India used to take five-six months. But now, it has come down to three-four weeks.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, set up the FFO in the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) with a view to promote and facilitate film shootings by foreign filmmakers in India. The services rendered by the FFO have now been extended to Indian filmmakers as well.
It acts as a single-window facilitation and clearance mechanism that eases filming in India, as well as endeavouring to create a film-friendly ecosystem and promoting the country as a filming destination. The institution of the ‘Most Film Friendly State’ Award, which was won by the State of Gujarat in 2015, the State of Uttar Pradesh in 2016 and the State of Madhya Pradesh in 2017, is a unique initiative in this direction.
In the recently announced 66th National Film Awards, Uttarakhand bagged the honour for ‘Best Film Friendly State’ for ‘furthering the growth of the film industry in the State including creating an environment for ease of filming in the State, encouraging skill/talent development, incentivizing the re-opening of closed cinema halls, formation of film development fund, continuing with the earlier incentive plan for filming, formation of Utttarakhand Film Development Council among other pro active initiatives’.
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 and works closely with State Governments in assisting them to set up similar facilities.
Foreign filmmakers desirous of shooting their Feature Films, Reality TV shows and commercial TV series in India, can apply online at the FFO website. And, the rest will be taken care of in a professional and friendly manner.