India’s long awaited location shooting incentive scheme is now a reality. At the Cannes Film Market on Wednesday, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur revealed a 30% reimbursement scheme for international productions shooting in India.
The Indian federal government will reimburse up to 30% of qualifying production expenditure to a maximum of INR20 million ($260,000). An additional 5% to a maximum of INR5 million ($65,000) will be granted to productions employing 15% or more manpower in India. The minimum qualifying production expenditure spending threshold is INR25 million ($325,000). The minimum spending threshold is not applicable to documentaries.
International productions granted permission to shoot in India are eligible to apply for the reimbursement, which applies across films, TV and streaming series, reality TV, documentaries and post production and VFX services. The applicant must be an (Indian) services or a line production company responsible for making all arrangements for purchasing, hiring and production related expenditure on behalf of the international producer.
Productions qualifying as official co-productions under bilateral treaties with India are also eligible for the reimbursement. India currently has audio-visual treaties with Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Russia, Spain and the U.K.
The incentive scheme will be administered by India’s Film Facilitation Office (FFO), which operates under the aegis of the National Film Development Corporation. There is a two-step approval process. An interim approval needs to be applied for four weeks before production commences in India. When this is obtained, the FFO will issue an interim approval certificate valid for 12 months.
A final approval needs to be applied for within 90 days after project completion. On successful evaluation and audit of the application, 85% of the eligible incentives will be disbursed. The remaining 15% will be released once the FFO receives a copy of the film, which needs to have the “Filmed in India” credit and the FFO logo displayed prominently.
Details of the incentive will be available on the FFO website imminently. The FFO also provides a single window permission clearance system for filming in India.