With films like Period. End Of Sentence and Village Rockstars from India’s interiors reaching international audiences, the country is becoming one of the favourite destinations for global filmmakers. The Film Facilitation Office (FFO), with the support of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, is easing the process of filming in India that is empowering the local ecosystem and tourism.

Asked if the interest in filming in India has grown among international filmmakers, FFO Head Vikramjit Roy told IANS, “Absolutely. India has always been an attractive destination for international filmmakers because our land is diverse, more than its beauty, it holds a character.”

“Every state, forest, water body is a character itself. Internationally, we are known for our cultural diversity and when you visit the land, you know how even those narrow lanes of urban cities are adding character to the city,” he added.

Roy, who has been associated with the business of cinema since 1997, has observed a change in the narration.

“Setting the story in a location and showing that slice of socio-cultural beauty of that area always makes global audience interested to watch the content.”

“Look at a film like ‘Bulbul Can Sing’ and ‘Village Rockstars’ that show a beautiful place like Assam. There are so many beautiful yet unexplored landscapes that we can explore through films. They help to encourage tourism as well,” said Roy.

“I think our cinema is the biggest soft power that we have to position our country as one of the rich and resourceful lands of cinema. That is why international filmmakers always found our country interesting…that is why the I & B Ministry decided to facilitate international filmmakers,” explained Roy.

He was speaking on the sideline of the 20th edition of FICCI FRAMES, the global media and entertainment conclave, last week.

He also mentioned how the locals get benefits.

“If we look at television channels like Discovery and National Geographic, we get to see how documentary filmmakers are coming to our country, going to some of the rural areas, and bringing stories from there to the world,” Roy said.

“To continue such practices, we are attempting to make locality ‘shooting friendly’ for global filmmakers.”

FFO was primarily set up in 2015 to facilitate international filmmakers to shoot films in India.

While the single window clearance has eased the process of all the required paperwork and granting permission to the makers from abroad to come and shoot films in India, Roy also mentioned the importance of film visa given to international applicants.

“The film visa we give to the international makers is one of the unique facilities. For example, if you are a Spanish filmmaker planning to shoot in India, once I receive the permission letter from I & B Ministry, a film visa will be issued for you and your crew who will be travelling to the shooting site with the permission letter.”

“It is a one-year visa with multiple entries and it is really helpful to travel to all the required locations for filming,” he shared.