In an effort to reach out to the filming fraternity across the globe, the FFO website http://www.ffo.gov.in has made the single window clearance for filming in India a reality. It helps international and domestic producers cut through the permission process required to shoot films in India.
Laying a red carpet for global producers and studios as part of its mandate to promote India as a filming destination, the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) has set up a web portal, http://www.ffo.gov.in, which provides all filming related information on a single platform.
Having been set up as a single window clearance system for granting mandatory filming permissions from Central and State governments, the portal also lists out all important guidelines and advisories for both international and Indian filmmakers. Whether it is accessing information related to filming, or understanding the processes of international arrivals, visa issuance, or application for quarantine exemption request, it’s all easily accessible to filmmakers at the click of a button.
Applying online for filming in India through the portal is an absolute breeze. Once a filmmaker applies through the portal, there is an automatic transmission of information to all the nodal agencies. The web portal has information regarding the Nodal officers of all Indian States and Union Territories, along with their filming policies and guidelines. Besides enabling online submission of applications for filmmakers, the portal also enlists India’s co-production treaties.
It disseminates information on India’s various shooting locations across all the States (each location having detailed information relevant to that particular location) and lists facilities available with the Indian film industry for postproduction, animation and VFX.
The layout of the website has been kept simple with all information neatly organised under each subhead. For example, if you are an international filmmaker, production house or a domestic filmmaker seeking permissions for shooting there are separate step-by-step guidelines under Permissions tab, which also has online application, and guidelines about aerial filming, filming with animals, application for filming visa and temporary import of filming equipment.
Applying through the FFO portal has never been easier. It requires the applicant to sign up with self-generated username and password to create an account, and start an incredible journey on one of the most user-friendly websites anywhere in the world for obtaining filming permissions with FFO by their side at every step of the way to guide them through all the nitty-gritty associated with filming in India.
The website also allows registration of local representatives or line producers of foreign productions in order to carry out recce of shooting locales.
After completing the registration process by uploading all documents in digital format, such as, detailed script, synopsis or concept, passport details of the crew, details of shooting locations in India and the period of shooting, etc, a nominal application processing fee is required to be submitted to start a one-on-one relationship with nodal officers of various government departments and agencies to help filmmakers realize their celluloid dreams.
The FFO, which became operational in 2016, has since assisted several international and domestic productions to complete their projects (Feature Films, Reality TV shows and/or Commercial TV Serials) in India. The portal bears a testimony to its proactive approach towards strengthening filming ecosystem in India by helping filmmakers link with shooting locations as well as the talent, resources and facilities available within the Indian Film industry for production and post-production. Rest assured you are in good hands.
In its endeavour to create a world-class film-friendly ecosystem in the country, FFO has been engaged in promoting various filming destinations dotting the country ranging from the lofty, snow-clad Himalayas to the sandy beaches of Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. As part of this sustained effort, the ‘Most Film Friendly State’ Award is given away each year during the National Film Awards ceremony in order to provide national and international level visibility to the best performing states in terms of filming infrastructure, favourable policies and incentives offered to filmmakers. Beginning 2015, this prestigious award has been won by Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim
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, the state government 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. Besides providing support through resources and incentives in the production of a film, the state also assists in renting equipment required for filmmaking at reasonable rates along with the fee of the technician to handle the equipment.
Another state nestled amidst the mighty Himalayan ranges, Uttarakhand was declared the Most Film-Friendly State of 2018. The state with beautiful hills of Nainital, Mussoorie’s waterfalls, accompanied by the divine bells at Rishikesh, Badrinath, and Kedarnath is the right destination for filmmakers. Action scenes are bound to get racier, if shot at the skiing mountains at Auli and Munsiyari. Blessed with a rare bio-diversity, the animals at Jim Corbett Park too await their 10 seconds of fame.
Among the initiatives undertaken by the state for promotion of filming include development of a film city and selection and development of places for outdoor shooting. Incentives offered by Uttarakhand to filmmakers include exemption of all films shot in the state from shooting charges, 50% discount for film units during the time of shooting at rest houses of Garhwal Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd and Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam Ltd, and consider financing (up to INR 1.5Crores) for Hindi films with production cost up to INR 2 crores.
Some of the films, documentaries and TV Serials shot in Uttarakhand include Student Of The Year, Koi Mil Gaya, Lakshya, Bunty Aur Bubli, Paan Singh Tomar, Shivaay, Dum Lagake Haisha, Shubh Mangal Saavdhan, Facing The Mountain, Kedarnath, Lifelines, Splits villa, Khatron ke Khiladi, Roadies, among others.
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 web site, film friendly infrastructure, offering incentives, maintaining databases, undertaking marketing and promotional initiatives.
Initiatives taken by the 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.
Winner of the Most Film Friendly State in 2017, Uttar Pradesh is the rainbow land where the multi-hued Indian Culture has blossomed from times immemorial. TajMahal in Agra, the symbol of love, has attracted filmmakers to Uttar Pradesh since the black and white era. The temple town of Varanasi offers a never-seen-before cultural experience for the international viewer, while the Buddhist relics at Sarnath and Lucknow are other places that could double up as props for a film catering to a wide audience.
The Uttar Pradesh government has developed the FilmPolicy 2018 with the sole aim of projecting the cultural,mythological, historical heritage and glorious traditions not only within the country, but also abroad through widespread publicity. For ensuring availability of all the film production related facilities under a single roof, the Film Bandhu, Uttar Pradesh has been constituted as a nodal agency. The Film Bandhu works in the direction of developing Uttar Pradeshas a hub of film production by generating a friendly climate and promoting film related activities in Uttar Pradesh.
Initiatives taken by the state for simplification of film production include setting up a Single Table System to provide better facilities to the people associated with films, setting up of State Film Division to provide easy, simplified and timely certification facility for films, providing free security arrangements for shooting films, and financial incentive through maximum subsidy of INR1 crore for film shot for more than half of its shooting days in Uttar Pradesh and INR2 crore for a film shot for more than two-third of its shooting days in Uttar Pradesh.
Winner of the Indian government’s national award for the Most Film-Friendly State in 2016, Gujarat is increasingly becoming the most preferred spot for film shootings. Filmmakers wishing to offer the audience an ‘eastern’ experience can land in Gujarat.Blessed with diverse choices of great locations including spectacular geographical, archeological and royal sites, Gujarat is a treasure trove for the filmmakers of every hue.
Gujarat’s single-window clearance facility, presence of a dedicated web portal,international promotions, database of product facilities andhotels and emergency services considerably streamline the otherwise cumbersome process of filmmaking.
Initiatives taken by the state for simplification of film production include quick shooting approvals. If a decision on a shooting application is not taken in seven days, permission will be deemed to have been granted. Free security arrangement is offered at open areas and public places for film shooting and TCGL film cells at Gandhinagar and Mumbai coordinates, facilitates and carries out marketing activities for film shootings in Gujarat. Besides that, producers can avail services of a consultant from the FilmCell to act as their liaison during shootings.