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With Film Visa, Global Producers Can Now Shoot in India

admin   January 10, 2021

Now that the Government of India has opened business visas for overseas companies to travel into the country, global film producers and studios with Film Visa are exploring options to come and film in India. The aviation restrictions have been lifted for foregin business travellers and companies into India.

Already, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has announced guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for film shooting and media production in the country. Various State governments have also issued SOPs for film shooting in their respective States detailing dos and don’ts aligning with prevailing local Covid conditions.

Film Visa, a special category for foreign filmmakers, producers and crew members to shoot in India was introduced in 2017 on the initiation by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

Dilip Singh Rathore, India’s most successful Line Producer for leading Hollywood Studios and European filmmakers, confirmed to Pickle that global producers are “expediting the process” to film in India in the new scenario of opening business to overseas companies.

Rathore’s On the Road Productions was the line producer for Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ (Produced by Warner Bros’) for filming portions of the movie in Mumbai.

“We are constantly getting calls over the last two days on filming in India,” says Rathore. “Interest in film in India is top in the radar of global producers. I am very optimistic that foreign film projects which were stalled in the beginning of the year will soon get activated.”

Italian filmmaker and producer Sergio Scapagnini is soon set to shoot in India for the new India-Italy co-produced film directed by Goutham Ghose. UK-based Collin Burrows of Film Treats Production is looking to film in India for forthcoming  projects. Late last year, Paramount Pictures had announced producing web series ‘The Bear’ for Apple TV to be shot in Madhya Pradesh. The Hollywood project was based on a bestseller novel by Gregory David Roberts ‘Shantaram’.

Business visits among global production houses are also likely to pick up in the coming days as India offers cost effective solutions for animation, VFX and gaming verticals of the Media and Entertainment industry. Major Indian production companies have strengthened their remote servicing capabilities in animation, VFX and digital intermediaries for collaboration. 

Film Facilitation Office (FFO), set up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting in the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), is currently accepting online applications for foreign producers to shoot in India.

FFO which was set up with a view to promote and facilitate film shootings by foreign filmmakers in India has also been extended to Indian filmmakers as well.

In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, Indian film locales have captured the attention of global producers and viewers. Mira Nair’s TV series ‘A Suitable Boy’, a six-episode, 349-minute long series, adapted from Vikram Seth’s classic novel, was extensively shot in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, India. It is currently streamed on Netflix across the world and BBC One (in UK and Ireland). Netlflix’s action thriller ‘Extraction’ starring Chris Hemsworth was filmed in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. Netflix has revealed that ‘Extraction’ tops the list in its 10 most-watched original movies of all time, as of today.

Another leading line producer stated that in recent times Film Visas have streamlined foreign film shooting 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. “Over 118 international films have been shot in the last four years and the FFO has been offering all support to filmmakers to shoot in India.


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India to Offer Incentive Package for Film Shoots and Co-Production

admin   June 23, 2020

TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of I&B, and MD, NFDC, Government of India said the country is open for business and filming for global studios and producers.

Even as over fifty countries across the world have announced resumption of film shooting with safety protocols, India has announced that once there will be normalcy in resumption of international travel, film shooting permissions will be accorded to global filmmakers to shoot in India with standard operating procedures (SOPs).

Participating in the e-panel discussion as part of the India@Cannes 2020 on the topic of ‘Come, Film in India’, TCA Kalyani, Joint Secretary (Films), Ministry of I&B, and MD, NFDC, Government of India said India is open for business and filming for global studios and producers.

“We will release Standard Operating Procedure for film shoots and other related works in the country, later this week,” said Kalyani.

Many Indian states including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala have permitted film shooting with guidelines on safety protocols.

In an attempt to woo global filmmakers, Indian government is ready with an incentive package for film shoots and co-production under the champion sector scheme.

Given the crisis the country is going through in the wake of Covid-19, the announcement will be made at the appropriate time. “We are ready with the incentive package. We are waiting for the appropriate time to announce,” stated Kalyani.

Kalyani confirmed that in addition to films, Web Series and Television Series will be included in the incentive package for co-production and film shooting when Michael E Ward, film producer specifically asked the question.

Kalyani said over 118 international films have been shot in the last four years and government has been offering all support to filmmakers to shoot in India and the country has a lot to offer to filmmakers from across the world.

The session, moderated by journalist Naman Ramachandran, was also attended by Vikramjit Roy, Head, Flm Facilitation Office, NFDC; Nitin Jawale, IAS, Managing Director, IPICOL and OFDC, Government of Odisha; Michael E Ward, film producer, Pravesh Sahni, ITOPS Film Production Pvt Ltd (line produced White Tiger in India) and Dileep Singh Rathore of On the Road India (line produced Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in India).

Vikramjit Roy listed out various initiatives of the government to make filmmaking easy in India. He said the Film Facilitation Office was set up with the sole aim to help filmmakers to obtain various permissions without facing any difficulty. The FFO is going all out to ensure that foreign filmmakers don’t face any hassle while shooting their movies in the country.

Jawale said Odisha is a beautiful state where filmmakers can find exotic locales to shoot their scripts. He spoke about initiatives by his department to facilitate film shoots in the state.

Michael E Ward appreciated the government of India for taking proactive measures to attract global filmmakers.

Line producer Rathore said they had shot Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (for Warner Bros’) in Mumbai and it was only possible because they got the permissions in time from the state government of Maharashtra and facilitation from FFO.

“We were super happy with the coordination and facilitation provided by Film Facilitation Office set-up by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. It’s best of the facilitations one could get for a film shoot. We are thankful to the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India and the co-ordinators at FFO.” said Rathore.


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FFO Rolls Out Red Carpet For Foreign Filmmakers

admin   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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Why India Attracts Foreign Filmmakers

admin   November 1, 2019

Veteran Indian film Producer Dileep Singh Rathore, who heads On The Road India, talks about how things have changed for better for foreign filmmakers who are willing to shoot their movies in India. Rathore shares his experience on the facilitation provided by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting’s Film Facilitation Office for Christopher Nolan’s film Tenet’s shoot in India

Tell us about On The Road India productions…

We are a 28-year-old company. I started very young when I was in my teens. We began our work, when there were no production service companies in India. I have worked with Shashi Kapoor and was with him in Russia for shooting. Then began, On The Road India and we have been working since then for many big projects. We have worked on projects for major studios like Warner Bros. Pictures and Walt Disney. We are production experts in the Indian and South Asian region with over decades of handling international feature projects, award winning documentaries, commercials and high-end still projects. In all these years, we have done over 35 major international projects. Our latest was Christopher Nolan’s Tenet (Warner Bros). We were the Indian producers for the project. We did the film shoot in Mumbai. 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.

Share your experience of Christopher Nolan’s film shoot in Mumbai…

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. We still have some issues related to Customs — because for this kind of film, we bring large quantity of equipment. I feel, if this could be streamlined, that would be wonderful. We paid all our fees to BMC and other agencies. They gave all local permissions, allowed us to park our vehicles, and set base camps. There was perfect synergy between the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and the State Government of Maharashtra. We have to make sure, we help every filmmaker who come to India to shoot.

Do you see visible changes happening for film shoots in India?

Things are changing for sure. I can say with my 25 years of experience in this industry that it was difficult to get permissions. There were times Government used to behave that they do favours to local or international filmmakers who are bringing the films to shoot. With FFO, I can see visible changes in coordination. This is the first time, Government is taking the initiative that the filmmaker who is coming from abroad has to face no hassles. He gets his permission on time and he is assisted with the government machinery. The is a good example of ease of filming and doing business in India. Also, there is a realisation of money coming into the country. jobs getting created and helping tourism. A foreign film shoot creates job at every level from the film industry to affiliated industries (which support the film industry like hotels, transport, catering).

Will Nolan come back for another shoot?

Nolan was extremely happy and satisfied with the Mumbai film shoot. He had great time. Also, he loves India. There were no major hiccups and he had a fantastic time. He really enjoyed his filming, showcased India in a beautiful way. He loved Mumbai city and the food. This was his second film shoot. I was the India producer for his first film shoot Batman: The Dark Knight Rises. We had issues during that time. This time, it is different. He will definitely come back again. Because of his love for India.

Do you think more foreign films’ shoots will come to India…

With this great experience, Nolan would talk about it. Definitely, Warner Bros would want to come to India for another project. If filmmakers like Nolan or Peter Wier shoot in India, they bring lot of revenue. There is also a feel good factor to the country. There is a goodwill. That’s very important. And if people at level like Nolan or Warner Brothers talk about, global studios and filmmakers and will listen to that.

FFO had come to Los Angeles and we set up meetings with Warner Bros. They got convinced to come to India. Having done everything well, in a timely manner, it will boost the confidence to bring another project to India. I can clearly see new projects coming to India.

What is India’s biggest attraction to foreign filmmakers?

India is vibrant, beautiful and looks different from rest of the world. Why do people come to India all the way. They want to come to India for the elements they find in India. International filmmakers come for archaeological places like forts and palaces, Indian forests, Indian trains, vibrancy in Indian cities. If ease of permission gets better, India will find mentions in more scripts developed in the world. Even a small film brings couple of million dollars. Foreign film shooting and production services have to be recognised as an industry. This will send a great message, internationally. And lot more films will come to shoot for sure.