The fourth day of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Film Festival in Mumbai began with a discussion on film production and facilitation in India.
The panel comprised producers such as Aashish Singh and Arfi Laamba (Bombay Berlin Film Productions), joint secretary (Films), Government of India and managing director, National Film Development Corporation Prithul Kumar, and managing director of Maharashtra Film, Stage & Cultural Development Corporation Dr. Avinash Dhakne.
Joint Secretary, Prithul Kumar, highlighted the role of the Film Facilitation Office (FFO), which provides a catalogue of shooting locations, and rebates in different states to incentivise and promote film production in India. Dhakne emphasised promoting new unseen filming locations such as Amravati, Melghat even in states with a thriving Industry, such a Maharashtra.
He also touched on the idea of reviving village tourism via village filming locations. “There is a need to provide cash incentives and to pull South Indian producers to shoot in North Indian states to make ours truly a Pan-Indian industry,“ he added.
Singh commented facilities that FFO provides such as rebates and a catalogue of locations are exactly what producers seek, in addition to ease of shooting. He noted how Austria and UK became attractive foreign filming locations by giving rebates on actor/director fees, discounts on crew expenditure, etc in the process.
Singh further suggested utilising tax treaties with UK govt to promote co-production between the two countries. Laamba noted that though India has all types of filming locations, there continues to be a lack of basic infrastructure in far-off locations such as North East India. As such, he highlighted the need to bring better ease of shooting in the form of improved logistics, crew facilitation etc.
The session concluded with Kumar highlighting the emerging role of VFX in film production in India. He also shed light on government steps such as promoting the 'Invest India' portal, integrating it with foreign embassies and providing a National Single window clearance for promoting India as filming destination.