Foreign and local producers who want to shoot in India now have a central agency they can contact, the Film Facilitation Office (FFO), to help with obtaining shooting permissions and sourcing locations and crew.

Housed under Film Bazaar organisers, the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC), the new body will oversee a ‘single window clearance’ system for shooting permits, working with India’s seven union territories and 29 states.

India’s Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting, Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, and Shri Sunil Arora, secretary in the I&B Ministry, will formally announce the launch of the FFO at Film Bazaar today.

“We need a fully fledged film facilitiation office that coordinates with the states, with the production industry, with those bodies that have advanced technical facilities – and does that kind of hand-holding without being overly intrusive,” Arora told Screen.

“That is why, instead of housing the office within a typical government set-up, we’ve housed it in the NFDC, which has a more flexible structure and hopefully less bureaucracy.”

The new body will also be involved in skills development, advising on policy measures and building an online database of locations and production services.

“We’re assessing what training is required to build up location services at a local level – everything from line producers and location managers to catering services,” said NFDC managing director Nina Lath Gupta. “We’ll also be helping the states to establish parameters of efficiency and will recommend that they seek feedback from every production.”

One of the key aims of this year’s Film Bazaar is to promote India as a filming location to boost both the film and tourism sectors. The event’s first ever Film Tourism Workshop wrapped yesterday and a Film Tourism Symposium, designed to encourage dialogue between filmmakers and government bodies, opens today.

In addition, Film Bazaar’s Knowledge Series will host a series of ‘Filming in India’ sessions where filmmakers including Prakash Jha, Rohan Sippy and Shoojit Sircar, will share their expreinces of shooting in various Indian states.

Meanwhile, the Film Offices in the Marriott provide a platform for producers to meet Incredible India and tourism bodies from states including Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

Recent productions to shoot in India include Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy’s House, starring Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson.