I&B ministry enhances sop for foreign film production in India, eyes medium, big projects

I&B ministry enhances sop for foreign film production in India, eyes medium, big projects

Panaji, Nov 20 (PTI) Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur on Monday announced enhancing incentive for production of foreign movies in the country, hiking the limit for reimbursement of expenses incurred in the country as he inaugurated the 54th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa.

The move was aimed at attracting medium and big budget international film projects to India, he said while addressing a star-studded gathering after opening the 54th edition of IFFI at Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Indoor Stadium near here.

The paradigm shift in incentivizing film production serves as a testimony to India's commitment and support for artistic expression and reinforces its position as a preferred destination for cinematic endeavours, Thakur said.

The minister said last year at the Cannes Film Festival, the central government introduced an incentive scheme for production of foreign films in India, offering reimbursement of up to 30 per cent of their expenses incurred in the country, capped at Rs 2.5 crore.

The scheme was announced with an aim to make India a favourite destination for foreign film makers.

“We realised that given India's size and vast potential, there was a need for higher incentive to attract medium and big budget international projects. Today, I am pleased to announce an increase in the incentive for foreign film production in India,' Thakur said.

“The maximum incentive would be now up to 40 per cent of the expenditure incurred with a raised limit of Rs 30 crore, exceeding USD 3.5 million. You can also get additional 5 per cent bonus for significant Indian content,” he added.

Speaking further, Thakur said the Government of India has taken several measures in the recent past to augment the media and entertainment sector.

“Recently, the Cinematograph Act, which stands as the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023, received approval from both Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha,” he said.

The legislation not only broadens the legal framework, shifting its focus beyond censorship to encompassing the copyright protection, but also introduces rigorous measures against piracy, stated the minister.

“Only few countries have done this (bring a law like Cinematograph Act). This has been done under the leadership of (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi,” Thakur added.

Thakur lit the traditional lamp in presence of Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, Union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L Murgan and Union minister Shripad Naik, among others, to mark the inauguration of the IFFI.

Actors Madhuri Dixit, Shahid Kapoor, Pankaj Tripathi, Sunny Deol and filmmaker Karan Johar were present for the opening ceremony of the nine-day festival being held at different venues in the coastal state.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Sawant welcomed the film fraternity for the event and said grand celebration of cinema in the picturesque state of Goa promises to be a mesmerizing journey.

“The cinema has power to evoke multitude of emotions, inspire minds and challenge the perspectives,” he maintained.

Sawant said the IFFI, over the years, has emerged as a “beacon of cinematic experience” and remarked that this year the festival promises to be different.

“Let us remember that cinema has power to transform lives. It can ignite imagination and broaden horizon around us,” he said.

Sawant said Goa, made the permanent venue of the IFFI in 2004, is a proud host of the festival.

'We are committed to providing all necessary support to make the festival a success. We want to make Goa a hub for filmmaking and the IFFI will help us in promoting that destination,” the CM stated.

Sawant opined the Goan film industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the years and now slowly stepping into the national scene.

“The Konkani cinema has carved a place for itself in the IFFI,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the Entertainment Society of Goa, one of the IFFI organisers, has floated an expression of interest for setting up a film city in the tourist state.

“It is our commitment that we will complete the procedure for this work (film city) a time-bound manner,” Sawant averred.

At the function, Union I&B Minister Thakur honoured Bollywood diva Madhuri Dixit with the 'Special Recognition for Contribution to Bharatiya Cinema' award.

Dixit, who started her film journey in mid-1980s, said she has worked with some wonderful directors during her decades-old career.

“I am happy to be here today. Thank you for this beautiful award. In nearly 38 years in the industry, I got to work with wonderful directors and did wonderful films,” Dixit said.

The 56-year-old actor described the IFFI as a platform for expressing creativity.

“Thanks to IFFI organisers for creating this platform. The IFFI is an emotion. People used to come to Goa only for holidays, now they are coming here to watch films,” the actor said.

IFFI is an annual event organized by the National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC), Union Ministry of I&B, in collaboration with the Goa government through the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG) and the Indian film industry.

The festival showcasing an eclectic array of world cinema to the audiences worldwide will kick-start with the international premiere of 'Catching Dust', by award-winning British filmmaker Stuart Gatt.

This year, the IFFI has received an overwhelming response, according to an I&B ministry release.

A total of 2,926 entries from 105 countries were received, which is three times more international submissions than last year. During the nine-day festival, more than 270 films will be showcased at four venues across Goa, said the release.

As many as 13 world premieres, 62 Asia premiers and 89 India premieres will be screened during the event.

A total of 32 entries have been received in 10 languages from 15 OTT platforms for Best Web Series (OTT) Award. Fifteen feature films -- 12 international and three Indian movies -- will compete for the coveted Golden Peacock award this year, said the release. PTI RPS RSY

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