Single window system for filmmakers still far away

NEW DELHI: The severity of the rules and regulations may vary from country to country or state to state, but the concept of a single window clearance for makers of short or feature films is still a long distance away.

Even though Goa stood out for its positive steps at the Open Forum on ‘Single Window Clearance for Documentary Films’ organized by the Indian Documentary Producers Association at the ongoing MIFF, speakers generally admitted that permissions to shoot were not a piece of cake anywhere in the world.

Heinz Dill of the Swiss Film Commission said that the Commission could at best be a link between the filmmaker and the Government but one would have to find a local partner who could get all the necessary permissions.

Though many Indian films were being shot in his country, he said these filmmakers did not work methodically the way others do.

"Single window clearance is wishful thinking and things are not easy," he admitted. But the Commission could help to find local artistes or technicians who would then be paid according to the Swiss salary structure.

Dill also said there was no tax concession for filmmakers shooting there, answering a question about the foreign exchange that the Swiss government earned.

Lucia Rikaki who is involved with two film festivals in Greece said Film Commissions existed in most countries but that did not make problems simpler for filmmakers. In addition, there were problems of censorship and release forms, but permissions can take more than a month. A line producer was a great help for any filmmaker from outside Greece. Separate censor clearance would also be required if the film is to be released in Greece.

Manoj Srivastava, Chief Executive Officer of the Entertainment Society of Goa, said the Society had worked out a single window clearance system where a filmmaker seeking permissions would have to pay a fee of Rs 6000 per day and will get a reply within 72 hours. The ESG will interact with various authorities during that period. He said shooting permission in Marmugao Port was the only irritant since it took longer time.

He said the ESG could obtain permissions for almost the entire 105 km of coastline and all the 66 beaches in the tiny state.

The ESG also had eleven registered line producers, panels of artistes, a research team, and even arrangements for a police team for protection (for a fee). Any VAT paid by the filmmaker (presently 15 per cent) will be reimbursed within a month on submission of the necessary bills.

Shooting a film without permission is punishable with a fine of Rs 500,000 and so this is necessary. While there is no system of release forms, a no-objection certificate is given when permission is extended.

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