Destinations pitch for a pie of the Indian cinema outbound at “Learning Curve: Masterclass”

The Indian cinema industry has come off age and growing number of international shoots has made India an important business opportunity for international markets to look in to. With an eye on detailing product offerings and policy initiatives, stakeholders from several European nations came together to elaborate on what made their product unique to Indian production teams at Cinemascapes 2017, held recently in Mumbai. Among important aspects, they explained recent policy initiatives pertaining to incentives and cash rebates, besides giving insight in to the local talent pool and available cinema shooting resources.

The session was anchored by Ashish Singh, Vice President, Yash Raj Films who asked producers and foreign stakeholders to share their perspective on creating a more conducive environment for cinema shooting, besides sharing other such details.

Natarajan Ramji, an old-hand in the business of location scouting, reminisced old days when a small group of artists and assistants scouted for best locations and “things were far simpler”. Times had changed, and the size of the entourage had significantly grown, Natarajan Ramji said. At a time when the scale of cinema making had exponentially grown, cost effective production of cinema was a priority for teams involved, and his personal mantra, Ramji added. 

He argued that the money saved in prudent location management could be utilised by the production team to add more value to the cinema. 

Dejan Iliev suggested that Macedonia had been keen on courting more film makers from the Indian shores and, given his long involvement in the industry, he was personally lobbying for further simplifying and incentivizing the process of cinema shooting. He detailed that the proposal was mooted to provide a cash rebate on qualified expenses in tune to 25-30 percent, from the existing twenty percent, to add to the USP of the country as a desirable cinema tourism destination.

Giving further insight in to a comparably recent introduction to Indian cinema industry, he revealed that while the local crew and industry was more accustomed to western cinema shooting teams, managing a crew of 13oo extras for the famous movie ‘Bahubali’ was a new experience for local stakeholders.

Serbia was home to some exotic locations and equipped to handle large cast and crew, besides being home to attractive incentives program and visa-on-arrivals for Indians, making it a destination of choice for cinema shooting, Irina Maleeva asserted. She made a special mention of how “an air hanger and an array of MIG 29 fighter aircraft were arranged in Serbia” for Mani Ratnam’s movie, after he was denied permission to shoot at Indian Air Force Base camp, further backing her claim of the presence of an enabling environment for cinema shooting in the Balkan country.

Ukraine diverse geographical setting and unique amalgamation of medieval architecture and modern lifestyle were some of the prime reasons for the nation’s ascent in the cinema shooting landscape, globally, Anna Palenchuk said. She mentioned that there was a sizable presence of the Indian community and a couple of Indian movies had been shot recently, raising hopes for more such ventures in the imminent future.

Additionally, she listed out advantages of shooting in the country, noting that the industry was being adequately supported by the government, and the country had a film commission and licenses to shoot was easy to acquire. Batting for more visits from production teams from India, she said that Serbia was a small and a compact country with Belgrade as the capital city – which was voted as the best city to visit in Europe.

Slovenia, Croatia and Bulgaria well-endowed cinema tourism locales, Robert Kranvogel said, as he made a pitch for all three destinations located in proximity to each other. He said that three nations, close to the Adriatic Sea, were replete with scenic views and clean beaches, and offered ample locations for cinema shoots for Indian filmmakers.

He detailed the distinct geography of Slovenia – a central European nation – calling it “home to mountains, beaches, castles and numerous lakes.”  

Rengarajan Jaiprakash believed that more information pertaining to the activities of the Indian cinema industry needed to be publicised in order to generate interest among foreign countries to attempt for businesses opportunities in the Indian market.

The session followed a brief interaction session with the audience where details shared by panellists were further discussed and the audience sought clarifications on the details shared.

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