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Ronita Torcato

A little chit, a little chat, a little bit of this & that;meaning news, views & lotsa reviews from an independent journo based in Bombay aka Mumbai


Germans spread Wilkommen mat for Indian filmmakers

Cash strapped film-makers often look to foreign institutions like the Herbert Bals Fund and UK Film Council to subsidise the production costs.O so wunderbar! They will be happy to know that Germany is offering  generous support ranging from loans, tax credits and price reductions,  provided  the film is a co-production. The Wilkommen mat was spread in the Yuletide season at  a press conference and seminar in the Maquinez Palace during the on-going 42nd edition of the International Film Festival of India by  a large delegation of Frankfurters aka leading lights from Germany's Frankfurt region.

Led by Horst Schneider, Lord Mayor of Offenbach and Dr Hartmut Schwesinger, President and CEO of FrankfurtRheinMain GmbH,the 18 member delegation comprising politicians and industry experts  is in India -at the IFFI in Panaji as well as other parts of Goa and Mumbai -  to promote the greater Frankfurt region as an attractive film ( and business ) location. 

Dr Schwesinger said "Germany is cheaper than France and the UK and if you are looking for a microcosm of the Global Village you will find it in FrankfurtRheinMain - an international traffic hub with universities and research institutions, enabling companies to generate  success. The creative sector attracts leading figures from  design, art, advertising, architecture, the gaming industry and Bollywood. With a beautiful skyline, historical buildings, romantic vineyards, picturesque settings and rivers, the multi-cultural region has much to offer to Indian filmmakers."

As of date, two Hindi films have been shot there, starting with V K Singh's Humraah the Traitor and Himesh Reshamiyya's big budget Aap Ka Suroor.  “Humraah – The Traitor” shows several attractive locations in the idyllic Bergstrasse setting. The Market Place of Heppenheim,birthplace of Sebastien Vettel who won the Formula One in India earlier this year, Auerbach Castle as well as Viernheim and Lampertheim forests appeared as film locations.
Mr Singh told this correspondent that he would be shooting his next film, Love in Heppenheim" in the Frankfurt region next year.

Mrs Ulrike Gehring, Chairperson of the Commission of  Hessian Chambers for Media and Politics said a designated bank can provide as much 50 % of the production costs. Such a substantial  amount is not to be sniffed at, although Mrs Gehring  pointed out that this is not a grant, since the bank would have to be reimbursed the funds. However, tax subsidies are offered to artists and freelance journalists who have to pay only 7 %  VAT whereas other professionals must pay 19 percent.

Mr Thomas Wieland, representing the Indo-German Film Agency informed that the IGFC and the Film Commission Hessen, assists film production companies to  find location scouts, and mediate contacts in local authorities and with businesses. He  said high tech media infrastructure, studios, production services and post-production facilities as  well as service free of charge to scout Locations and Production guides could also be provided. By way of  example, he said permission for outdoor shoots is given instantly for very low rates (a castle for eg will cost 2,000 euros whereas a similar archaeological monument in say, the  UK would be prohibitively expensive.)
It may be noted that more than 6,000 Indians and  200 Indian companies live and operate in the Frankfurt region.Dr. Schwesinger said that to strengthen the position of the region among Indian investors and businesses, FrankfurtRheinMain GmbH will shortly be opening a liaison office in Pune.

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About Ronita Torcato

Torcato Agnela Ronita
An incomplete round-up of movie news, features & views from an independent journo & (dare I say it:-) film critic in Mumbai



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