FFO Rolls Out Red Carpet For Foreign Filmmakers

By Pickle  February 20, 2020

Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, is at Berlinale 2020 to act as the single point of contact for filmmakers to get all the relevant information about India’s film industry ecosystem, and help them navigate through the maze of permissions, treaties and guidelines of key Central Government Ministries and State Governments

India, with its huge diversity of cultures, contradictions and paradoxes, is fast emerging on the global film industry map as one of the last frontiers for filmmakers to bring millions of untold stories to live on screen. To facilitate this process, Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting under the aegis of National Film Development Corporation, Government of India, is in Berlinale 2020 to reach out to filmmakers and producers interested in filming in India.

FFO, as a one-stop solution for all filming needs in India, has been at the forefront of developing a filmfriendly outlook to capitalise on the beautiful shooting locales of the country.

FFO will act as the single point of contact for filmmakers to get all the relevant information about India’s film industry ecosystem, and help them navigate through the maze of permissions, treaties and guidelines of key central government ministries and state governments.

To bring more transparency, coherence and convenience, FFO’s web portal http://www.ffo.gov. in equips filmmakers to submit their applications online. It enlists India’s co-production treaties with many countries across the world along with guidelines of key central government ministries/ departments, which is often a gamechanger leading to greater ease of navigation, and thereby easing filming in the country.

Reflecting the new spirit of India, the portal also has the details of the Nodal Officers of the Indian States and Union Territories to further provide a personal touch to the services on the offer. While the web portal is an endeavour to reach out to the filming fraternity across the globe, the FFO has been proactively trying to achieve creative collaborations on a global scale.

In the larger scheme of things, FFO is an important part of the government’s endeavour to serve the flavours of India to the world cinema and disseminate knowledge and entertainment to all sections of the society.

Since the launch of FFO, many success stories have emerged to testify for the efficacy of this initiative. For instance, Christopher Nolan’s film Tenet got shooting permissions approved within a week’s time–thanks to facilitation provided by FFO which has drastically reduced the time taken to procure permits for foreign crews.

Similarly, for foreign filmmakers, one of the biggest hurdles to shooting in India was the huge cost involved in temporary import of filming equipment. Taking note of this issue, FFO has created a mechanism through which customs clearance process has been smoothened for filmmakers.

As the number of films shot in India is going up, a special visa category for foreign film crew has been introduced by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs. The ministry officials coordinate with the Indian embassies abroad to help filmmakers get visa clearances faster.

Also, as foreign filmmakers often want to capture aerial scenes, a separate department has been created to cater to these requests. Now, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) provides permission for aerial shootings in the country. For Tenet, the permission to use a helicopter was very smooth and quick. Efforts have also been on to bring on board other institutions like ASI, DGCA, and Railways to further reduce the time required for permissions.

“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, but I can’t disclose their names,” says Dileep Singh Rathore, reflecting a change in outlook of foreign filmmakers when it comes to shooting in India.

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 started to promote filming in India. For furthering the growth of the film industry in the State, Uttarakhand bagged the honour for ‘Best Film Friendly State in 2018. To encourage more filmmakers to shoot films in the state, the Uttarakhand government has provided various subsidies.

Most states in India have also formulated their filming policies, which offer certain incentives to foreign filmmakers. FFO can help connect with the right officials in the state administration to take a filming proposal forward.

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.

REGISTER

Register yourself with the FFO website www.ffo.gov.in to start your application process

FILL APPLICATION FORM

Fill out the application form for seeking permission for film shooting in India

UPLOAD DOCUMENTS

Upload script, synopsis of the script, passport details of the crew, details of shooting locations in India & period of shooting

PAY FEES

An application fee of INR equivalent to USD 225 needs to be paid online. (For International Productions) The fee is non-refundable

SUBMIT APPLICATION FORM

Submit the form on your own or through an Indian Representative / Line Producer

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