Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore said today that the Government will only ‘focus on providing land and infrastructure’ for the proposed National Centre of Excellence for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics. He called upon private partners to utilise this initiative with investment, technology and faculty. The Minister was speaking while inaugurating the India Pavilion at the Cannes International Film Festival. He also released the poster of the International Film Festival of India to be held in Goa in November. (The Maharashtra Government has already offered to give land in the film city in Goregaon in Mumbai for the Centre, though the Central Government has not received any concrete proposal.) He said the Film Facilitation Office (FFO) set up by the government was a step towards facilitating single window clearance for film makers, promote India as a filming destination and provide the platform for film tourism in the country. He said that this initiative also addressed the requirement of prospective film makers who were keen to utilize India’s platform for filming purposes. The FFO would act as a facilitation point for film producers and assist them in obtaining requisite permissions, disseminate information on shooting locales as well as the facilities available with the Indian film industry for production/post production. He said the primary objective of the Film Facilitation Office was to create an environment that inspired filmmakers and tap the vast talent available in the Indian film industry. The FFO would also identify and recommend such policy changes at the Central and State levels that would make India a more film-friendly destination. As part of perspective planning, the Minister said that a dedicated web portal to take this application process online, which would be operational in the next few months. The portal would not only enable online submission of application, and enlist Guidelines of key central government ministries/departments regarding shooting of films in one place, but also create a Location’s Guide and a Service Provider’s Directory, so as to become a single window for the international film community who were looking to shoot their films in India. The Minister also outlined the steps being taken by the Ministry to streamline the process of permission in States. In this regard he mentioned that the Ministry had requested state governments to appoint a nodal officer for purpose of promoting and facilitating film shootings in their state. He added that the FFO would regularly engage with these Nodal Officers to remove any roadblocks and ease out the process of permissions as well as promote the states internationally through initiatives such as conducting Familiarisation (FAM) tours for foreign filmmakers, participation at international markets. The Minister specifically highlighted the Government’s recent initiative of instituting the “Most Film Friendly State” award as part of the National Film Awards with the objective to encourage the state governments to support the film industry. He stated that the award aims to sensitise the Indian states towards film tourism, advantages of bringing in foreign filmmakers to shoot in their state, promote India as a preferred filming destination as well as encourage the growth of the film industry. The Minister touched upon the criteria for the award which included presence of single window clearance facility, presence of state government backed film studio complex consisting of dedicated locations for film shoots, production and post production infrastructure, incentives offered by the state, presence of a dedicated web portal, database of facilities available, efforts being made to develop talent for the film industry, connectivity in the state and international marketing initiatives.