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India moots tax breaks, refunds for foreign film units


Cannes: India is working towards making it easier for foreign film units to shoot in the country not only by overhauling clearance-granting mechanisms, but also by providing incentives like tax refunds and subsidies to international movie projects.

This was revealed by Amit Khare, the information and broadcasting secretary, during the opening function of the India Pavilion at the 72nd Cannes Film Festival.

"We are in the process of talking to film industry players here, especially those based in France, to take this new initiative forward," Khare said.

"The Indian government is keen to do whatever it takes to make it more attractive for foreign producers to film in India." He added: "What is most encouraging is that many state governments are coming forward to offer their locations for foreign film shoots. They have realised that there is a close connection between cinema, tourism and the economy."   

The Marche du Film (Cannes Film Market) head Jerome Paillard, who also addressed the opening session in the India Pavilion, said: "We hope to have enhanced collaborations with India. If we can contribute to expanding the partnership between the two countries in any manner, it will be important for us."

Discussions are on for various India-France co-productions, he added.

The opening day in the Pavilion was dedicated to the promotion of the 50th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), scheduled from November 20 to 28 this year.

A poster of the upcoming festival was launched along with the latest edition of the India Film Guide, a handbook that spells out the facilities that are available in India as a film location.

Khare referred in particular to the difference that the Film Facilitation Office, which was set up a few years ago, has made to streamlining clearances for foreign film units.

"A film crew does not have to seek separate permissions anymore to shoot in a heritage building, on a railway property or in a forest area. Single-window clearance is now an established reality."               

"We now also want to incentivise foreign film units by exploring the possibility of refunding taxes and granting subsidies to them when they shoot in India," Khare said.

The inauguration of the India Pavilion was attended, among others, by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chairman Prasoon Joshi, the joint secretary of the information and broadcasting ministry Ashok Kumar Parmar and veteran film producer Bobby Bedi, who moderated the session.

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