New Delhi: I&B Ministry is taking steps to make it easy for international filmmakers to shoot films in India. Through the Film Facilitation Office (FFO), it has approached different departments seeking details on the procedures followed, the listed iconic spots, rules and regulations and mandatory licences for the filmmakers. The Ministry has also consulted The Directorate General of Civil Aviation, Airports Authority of India, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, Animal Welfare Board, Ministry of Environment, ASI and Ministry of Railways.
A foreign filmmaker has to get an average of over 31 licences to shoot a film in India, because of which most of them don’t come to the country. Last year, the ministry, after a push from the top, consulted the MHA and MEA and introduced a special visa category for foreign filmmakers to “ease the hardship in getting the visa for shooting films”. Recently, the government has employed more scrutiny on filmmakers proposing to make documentaries on Kashmir and border villages.
While the ministry awaits necessary approvals from ASI and Ministry of Railways on iconic spots where films can be shot. It is compiling data on historic spots and available studios and empanelling line producers and Production Services Companies that are hired by foreign filmmakers while shooting in India. They will be listed by the month-end on the FFO’s website which will have other details on permissions, locations, filming, co-production and a production directory.
According to sources from Film and Television Producers Guild, permissions that should take not more than four weeks is taking close to six months and international crew pay 2-3 times higher rate to the locals they hire. A number of petitions have been given to the ministry to reduce the time taken to procure permits for foreign crew that want to shoot in India. While feature films are cleared by the I&B ministry, the MEA’s publicity division decides which documentary filmmakers may shoot in India. Embassies also clear the documentary proposals.
In 2012, producers of James Bond movie ‘Skyfall’ were denied permission to shoot an action sequence on top of a moving train because the Ministry of Railways felt India would be shown in poor light.
As many as 19 states have provided complete information about 86 shooting spots, while information from Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Jharkhand, Haryana, J&K are awaited.
The ministry, through the FFO, has also written to select trade associations, whose list was compiled in consultation with the Film Federation of India (FFI) and Producers Guild of India. Initially, the trade associations would be listed and subsequently their members will be put up on the portal for the convenience of film makers.
Since there is no one reliable source for collecting authentic data on studios and post production facilities, putting together this information remains a challenge. The ministry is reaching out to various market sources including FICCI for the same.
Ministry sources reveal that all work related to setting up of the one window portal is expected to get over by this month end.