In this Industry Spotlight with Creative First, Pravesh Sahni, Founder, India Take One Productions, joined Lohita Sujith, Sr. Director, Copyright & Digital Economy, Motion Picture Association to discuss international productions & tax incentives.
The conversation started with some anecdotes from his more than twenty-five years of working in film including attending the Oscars and sending Dev Patel on 3rd class solo train travels prior to shooting Lion. Pravesh explained how a line producer in a foreign country can play a vital role in helping an actor find their character or a writer find the story by introducing them to the surroundings.
Next, the discussion proceeded to some of the advantages of shooting in India, such as affordability, technical crews on par with the best in the world, and the ability to build any set, including that of other foreign countries.
Pravesh also highlights how India as a location allows the recreation of any part of the world really without someone noticing. He cites examples of scenes for Zero Dark Thirty (shot in Chandigarh & Patiala) and Wedding Guest and Homeland where scenes for Pakistan were shot in India.
With regards to government incentives, Pravesh talks about how the government and NFDC have been of great help and the new incentives are something to look forward to. He does express personal concerns about the caps at state and central of less than half a million dollars which doesn’t excite big studios and productions. With an ease on these caps, the industry will further flourish. He further does acknowledge that both state governments and the centre are looking at this.
According to Pravesh, when shooting in Taiwan, for example, the government provides film crews with a letter to present hotels so that they are not charged tax. He also stated this is something Punjab is looking into implementing.
With one dedicated government officer assigned to each foreign film, a lot can be accomplished towards easing up the process of for foreign film production in India.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Pravesh Sahni is the Founder of India Take One Productions. He is considered to be one of the most experienced Line Producers for international shoots in India. He has worked with Ang Lee, Danny Boyle, Oliver Stone, Shekhar Kapoor, Brad Bird, Kathryn Bigelow. He co-founded India Take One Productions (ITOP), a production services company based in Los Angeles and India.
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