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.
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.
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 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.
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.