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India Offers Fascinating Landscapes

admin   July 5, 2021

India’s incredible variety of landscapes coupled with advantages like availability of very skilled and experienced film crews places the country in an advantageous position when compared to several foreign countries, says Déborah Benattar, Executive Producer and Founder La Fabrique Films, in an interview with Pickle, while sharing her experience of working as a production services company in India since 2013

Congrats! It is great to know Cyril Dion’s “Animal” (selected for the Cinema for the Climate Section, Cannes Film Festival 2021) and some parts were filmed in India and your company La Fabrique Films helped in executive production. Tell us about your experience of filming “Animal”.

For forty years, 60% populations of wild animals and 80% of flying insects in Europe have disappeared. This is what scientists call the Sixth Mass Extinction.

After the success of “Demain”, with more than a million admissions in France, and César for Best Documentary Film 2016, Cyril Dion decides to investigate our relationship to the living world. His new film, “Animal”, marries the eyes of two teenagers, the English Bella and the French Vipulan, two young activists who fervently campaign for the animal cause and against global warming. Across the world, they see the extent of the disaster but also discover initiatives that give hope to people.

In India, they meet Afroz Shah, an environmental activist and lawyer from Bombay, who initiated the clean-up of Mumbai’s Versova Beach and has inspired people around the world to clean up their environment.

The film “Animal” recalls a fundamental truth: human beings believe that they could separate themself from nature, but they are in fact the nature. They too are animals. La Fabrique Films line produced the shoot in Mumbai in November 2019 and we feel proud to be associated with such a beautiful documentary film dedicated to climate and ecological commitment.

Shoot of Film Animal
Tell us about La Fabrique Films? What are the projects you have done in India?

We have been working as a production services company in India for foreign productions since 2013. We have welcomed movies such as “Les Cow-Boys” by Thomas Bidegain,“Maya” by Mia Hanse-Love, “Fahim” by Pierre-Francois Martin-Laval and “The Best is Yet to Come” by Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patellière, among others.

In the beginning of 2020, just before the pandemic, we had the pleasure to line produce a shoot in Rajasthan of the Swiss Film “And Tomorrow You Will Be Dead”, directed by Michael Steiner and produced by Zodiac Pictures. The film is based on a true story and its drama is hard to beat: In 2011 Daniela Widmer and David Och were traveling along the Silk Road in their bus when they were kidnapped by bandits in Pakistan and handed over to the Taliban. They succeeded in escaping their kidnappers eight months later. The movie will be released in cinemas in Switzerland on 28th October 2021.

What according to you are challenges for La Fabrique Films?

We have been trying to defend the interest of foreign producers in a very transparent way. It would be a great incentive for line production companies like ours if the government expedite the refunding process of goods and service tax (GST), which is required to be paid by local entities like us. As export of services is not taxable in India, line producers are eligible to claim refund of part of this GST from the tax authorities in India. We have been trying to obtain this refund on behalf of our foreign clients, but it has proven to be a lengthy and tedious process.

Stills from “And Tomorrow You Will Be Dead”
What fascinates you in an Indian location?

India is fascinating as it has an incredible variety of landscapes to offer. And apart from the variety of locations, one of the main advantages India has compared to several foreign countries, is that the technical crews are very skilled and experienced. It is always a great collaboration between the foreign and the Indian crew.

Do you see visible changes after the formation of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting’s Film Facilitation Office? Has filming in India eased now?

The Film Facilitation Office (FFO) has tremendously improved and speeded the permission process for international projects as well as the delivery of film visas for the cast and crew.

We are hoping to see similar improvements in terms of permissions with other institutions: Indian Railways, ASI, DGCA, etc

“Les cow-boys” Directed by Thomas Bidegain, filmed in India
The government plans to incentivise filming in India as well under Co-production Treaties? Will this be an advantage for India?

Once the government introduces incentives like other foreign countries, India will definitely become one of the best shooting destinations in the world. Also, we would really appreciate if the government take care of few hiccups like streamlining the taxation processes, as mentioned earlier, to make it a win-win for all.

Your reflections on how tough it has been during the lockdown times… How do you see changes in the post-COVID world for filming? What are the changes that we should embrace to face reality?

The lockdown time has allowed us to become more creative and work more digitally. But we are very trilled to go back to shoot and allow foreign and Indian crew to collaborate as they share the same passion for cinema.


India Shines in Toronto Film Festival 2018 Picks

admin   July 25, 2018

BY Saibal Chatterjee

India watchers have much to look forward to among the first slate of titles that the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) announced on Tuesday (July 24). Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan, a romantic drama featuring Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal and Taapsee Pannu, will be accorded a Gala world premiere, while Nandita Das’ Manto, which premiered in the Un certain regard section in Cannes earlier in the year, is in the Special Presentations lineup of 30 titles.

Nandita Das’ Manto

North America’s premier film festival (September 6 to 16) will also host the world premieres of three films with an India connect — British director Michael Winterbottom’s The Wedding Guest, Australian Anthony Maras’s first feature Hotel Mumbai and French filmmaker Mia Hansen-Love’s Maya.

Michael Winterbottom’s The Wedding Guest

Confederation of Indian Industry is taking a high level media and entertainment industry delegation to TIFF from 8-10 September 2018, led by Mr Sudhanshu Vats, Chairman, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment and Group CEO, Viacom 18 Media Pvt Ltd. CII has taken space at the market to promote cinemas of India, film locales and services. A breakfast session with global producers is slated for September 10.

Mia Hansen-Love’s Maya

This is the second year running that Kashyap makes the trip to Toronto. He was in TIFF last year with Mukkabaaz. Manmarziyan, jointly produced by Phantom Films, Eros International and Aanand L Rai’s Colour Yellow Productions, centres on “a spirited girl” who “finds herself caught in a complicated love triangle while burdened with societal and familial pressures”. Manto, Das’ second directorial outing, Manto, an Indo-French co-production that brings to the screen the final tumultuous years of the legendary Urdu writer’s life, earned critical acclaim in Cannes in May.

Anthony Maras’s Hotel Mumbai

Both the Wedding Guest, which “follows a mysterious British Muslim man” who travels across Pakistan and India, and Hotel Mumbai, centred on the 2008 terror attack on Taj Mahal Hotel, feature Dev Patel in a stellar role. The two films will screen in TIFF’s Special Presentations section.

Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan

Maya, also in Special Presentations, is about a French war correspondent who returns from Syria and travels to India in order to recover from the trauma. The cast of the film has India newbie Aarshi Banerjee alongside Roman Kolinka and Cedric Kahn. Maya has been line produced by Mumbai-based La Fabrique Films.