Paris, May 13 (IANS) Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore, who on Friday unveiled the India Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival here, says that the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) set up by the government was an important step to promote India as a filming destination.
"The FFO would act as a facilitation point for film producers and assist them in obtaining requisite permissions, disseminate information on shooting locales as well as the facilities available with the Indian film industry for production/post production," the minister said while inaugurating the India Pavilion at Cannes Film festival, read an official statement.
Just last year, the ministry of information and broadcasting announced plans of a FFO to remove all obstacles and hassles while obtaining permission for filming and attracting more international filmmakers -- and thus be a step towards making India a global filming destination.
The minister also shared that the primary objective of FFO was to create an environment that inspired filmmakers and tap the vast talent available in the Indian film industry.
"The FFO would also identify and recommend such policy changes at the central and state levels that would make India a more film-friendly destination," he said.
While outlining the steps being taken by them to streamline the process of permission in states, the minister pointed out at a need to promote the states internationally through initiatives such as conducting Familiarization (FAM) tours for foreign filmmakers and participation at international markets.
In his address, Rathore specifically highlighted the government's recent initiative of instituting the 'Most Film Friendly State' award as part of the National Film Awards with the objective to encourage the state governments to support the film industry.
He stated that the "award aims to sensitise the Indian states towards film tourism, advantages of bringing in foreign filmmakers to shoot in their state, promote India as a preferred filming destination as well as encourage the growth of the film industry".
Rathore also touched upon the criteria for the award, which included presence of single window clearance facility, presence of state government backed film studio complex consisting of dedicated locations for film shoots, production and post production infrastructure, incentives offered by the state, presence of a dedicated web portal, database of facilities available, efforts being made to develop talent for the film industry, connectivity in the state and international marketing initiatives.
As part of perspective planning, the minister said that a dedicated web portal to take this application process online, which would be operational in the next few months.
The portal would not only enable online submission of application, and enlist guidelines of key central government ministries or departments regarding shooting of films in one place, but also create a locations guide and a service providers directory, so as to become a single window for the international film community who were looking to shoot their films in India.
Rathore also spoke on the proposed National Centre of Excellence for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics. He stated that while the government would focus on providing land and infrastructure, the private partners were invited to take utilise this initiative with investment, technology and faculty.
The minister also unveiled the official poster and brochure of the 47th International Film Festival of India to be held in Goa in November 2016.
The Cannes Film Festival, in its 69th edition this year, is among the world's most popular film extravaganzas to be held annually. It attracts some of the top filmmakers and film-related talent from across the globe. From India, actors like Mallika Sherawat, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Sonam Kapoor are seen on the red carpet.
This year, the gala will end on May 22.