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France woos Indian content creators; lays out interesting incentives

The incentives can go up to 40 per cent with simplified procedure.

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From Left to right - Bennet, Boutonnat and Riester: France wants to build closer ties with Bollywood

MUMBAI: The French government is laying out the red carpet for Indian film, digital originals and TV series makers.  French minister of culture Franck Riester flew into Mumbai and had a series of whistlestop meetings with members of the creative community at Mumbai’s Soho House. His pitch: come to France, film, do co-productions and we will give you all the permissions through one window, access to regional tax incentives, and credits. 

Said the minister: “The French president wants to build closer relationships with India. One of the best ways to do it is through the medium of cinema. Both France and India have a long history of cinema. We are the premier film making country in Europe. India’s Bollywood has been making major strides. We have many stories which can be remade in India and likewise. And India and France have a coproduction agreement since 2010 and more than 10 films have been shot in France. ” 

Centre National Du cinema et de l’mage animee (CNC) president Dominique Boutonnat said that French cinema does about $3 billion euros worth of productions while making about 300 films a year. “Even series which are travelling across the world thanks to global streaming platforms can come and film in France. We have beautiful locations which can be used.”

The single-window clearance will be done through Film France. Stephan Bender who looks after technical facilities and communications for the organisation, says that procedures have been simplified and all clearances, permissions, finding a local partner, tax credit clearances will be done through his office. “Earlier we had to go through the ministry of commerce; and that would take time. But now that we have stepped in things are bound to speed up. All you need to do to take advantage of our incentives is send us your budget and production services agreement (PSA) with your local producer, your script  - to find out if you are eligible. Non-fiction and documentary makers are not eligible for the incentives though. It has to be scripted and fiction oriented.”

Riester added that a committee and film commission is being set up to facilitate Indian productions in France, which will assess projects coming to it, and turnaround time is being improved by the day. "I think it''s human relationships which will help strengthen our relations in cinema and other creative industries. I hope we will be able to increase our cooperation, business and artistic exchanges," he acknowledged.

Bender added that producers will  require to spend a minimum of Rs 2 crore in France to be eligible for the incentives which tots up to 30 per cent. If VFX is added to it, then the incentives will be higher at 40 per cent for expenditure up  to two million euros. The incentive and tax credit has a limit of 30 million euros for a project, but for that the expenditure in France will have to be in excess of 100 million euros. 

Among the filmmakers who turned up for the interactions included Reliance Entertainment’s Shibashis Sarkar, Red Chillies Gaurav Verma, Dipti Jindal, a representative of  Sajid Nadiadwala, Vivek Singhania, actor turned producer R Madhavan, Sunil Khetrapal from Azure Entertainment, Narayan Srinivasan from In2tainment, TVC digital series and film maker Rajnish Lall, Brio Studios Amit Ranekar, India Spark’s Khalid Khan, among many others.

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