At the end of April, the first tour of international filmmakers took place as part of the new project “Filming Locations in Russia”. Indian producers visited Moscow, Sochi, and the Moscow Region, including a large-scale film cluster under construction.
From April 19 to April 29, a group of Indian producers explored potential filming locations in Russia. The visit was organized by ROSKINO, a Russian film promotion body, with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation. The Moscow Tourism Committee acted as the official hospitality partner. The Indian delegation included six producers: CEO of the Producers Guild of India Nitin Tej Ahuja, and producers Keyursinh Parmar (Roy Kapur Films), Ankur Garg (Luv Films), Yash Katira (Applause Entertainment), Mukesh Jain (Junglee Pictures), and Bonnie Jain (Red Chillies Entertainment). The Indian delegation studied natural and architectural locations and film production infrastructure.
In Moscow, the guests took part in the business section of the 45th Moscow International Film Festival. CEO of the Producers Guild of India Nitin Tej Ahuja held a seminar under the ROSKINO Academy brand titled “Financial Aspects of Film Production and Peculiarities of Doing Business in India”. The Indian producers also took part in a round table “Russia-India. Opportunities for cooperation in the film industry” and pitching “Russia-India” co-production projects.
In Sochi, a Russian city on the Black Sea coast, a presentation of regional film locations was held. Today, good conditions have been created for filming in Krasnodar region, and there are a large number of companies providing services for renting equipment and providing professional staff. An additional incentive for foreign filmmakers is financial support. Since 2021, a mechanism has been introduced in the region to reimburse part of the costs associated with the production of national films (including co-production projects) in the Krasnodar Region: the rebate is currently 30 %.
ROSKINO Marketing Director Vladimir Labutin said the project “Filming Locations in Russia” will attract more international film groups to Russian regions, contributing to the development of local industries, and strengthening the image of Russia as a tourist destination.
In Moscow Region, as part of a meeting with representatives of the film commission, the potential of the region was also presented. Moscow Region is a unique location combining incredible natural landscapes and architectural monuments. It also has a growing industrial infrastructure, as the Indian guests could see for themselves during their visit to the Glavkino film and television complex.
The program of the location tour also included the territory of the film cluster under construction in Moscow near the village of Yurovo, where the first part of the project has already been implemented, several multifunctional film sets have been built. It is also planned to build scenery for the railway station and airport terminal, numerous pavilions, a hotel complex, and warehouse buildings.
Summing up the results of the location tour, Nitin Tej Ahuja, CEO of the Producers Guild of India, noted: “Every location that we saw was relevant and unique in its own way and I think each of them has immense potential as a shooting location. What I particularly liked was that in Sochi one can shoot in snow and on beaches in the same city and at the same time which is great as it gives you two very different diverse landscapes in a very production-efficient way. The grandeur and scale of central Moscow, especially the Red Square, also makes for very striking visuals as do many of the estates and manors we visited. Further, the modern skyscrapers of Moscow City are also perfect for a modern or futuristic story. I can imagine all sorts of Indian films being shot there especially action, thrillers, romantic and family films”.
The only thing that needs improvement, as Nitin Tej Ahuja said, is a federal government rebate or incentives. “This is something we discussed extensively with the authorities during our trip”, he underlined.
Describing the film production infrastructure, Nitin Tej Ahuja said he was surprised by how advanced and accessible production facilities are, especially in Moscow. Mosfilm film studio, in particular, was an eye-opener given the range of shooting floors and technical facilities, as also the vast catalogues of vintage vehicles, costumes, props, and more that can be accessed. “It would be no exaggeration to say that one can literally go to Mosfilm with a crew and a script and come out with a finished film!” he said.
Nitin Tej Ahuja also expressed admiration for the ambitious plans for the film cluster in Moscow. “I am sure it will be very producer-friendly facility once fully operational,” he said.
To the question about further prospects for cooperation, Nitin Tej Ahuja answered “India and Russia already have an official co-production treaty that offers many advantages to filmmakers in both countries. I think the most important requirement for this cooperation to achieve its full potential is regular interactions between working professionals of both countries and both industries. The biggest Indian film of the year so far, Pathaan, shot some portions in Russia as did the upcoming Tiger 3. I am sure that as a result of our tour and our learnings, Indian producers are looking at Russia even more actively as a possible shooting destination. I am very optimistic about the future of our film ties and collaborations but it is important that we keep this dialogue ongoing on a regular basis”.