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.