The 10th edition of the India International Foreign Tourism Conclave (IIFTC) witnessed the renowned Indian film director, R. Balki, sharing invaluable insights on the art of filmmaking and its close association with the right locations. Balki, a visionary filmmaker with a passion for authenticity, emphasized the significance of ideal locations and the need for film commissions to prioritize the essence of a place over economic incentives.
In a thought-provoking address on the second evening of the three-day mega film tourism event, Balki made a compelling case for a more holistic approach to choosing filming locations. In a fireside chat, he mentioned, “Incentives are secondary; the primary concern is the right location. Film commissions should stop offering incentives as a way to market to filmmakers. Instead, they should focus on preserving the authentic character of the location. Rather than only economics, one should look at locations holistically.”
Balki further stressed the importance of catering to the needs of film crews, including their food preferences. “Film commissions can also be sensitive about the food patterns of the crew,” he stated, acknowledging that such attention to detail contributes to a smoother and more productive filming process.
The director pointed out that Indian filmmakers lead the way in shooting films internationally and highlighted the importance of convenience, such as direct flight connections when choosing a location. Balki also expressed his appreciation for the local support provided by crew members and equipment suppliers, stating, “We love local support in terms of crew and equipment. As filmmakers, we always do a location recce before filming – even then we have always experienced that – the local crew knows the places better than us. Hence, we always try to shoot with the locals.”
With a passion for authentic storytelling, Balki shared his dream of shooting in an old-school theme park and on train journeys. He explained, “It’s my dream to shoot in an old-world theme park with those rickety roller coasters, I am planning a film that will be 60% based in the theme park.”
The inaugural evening of IIFTC featured over 50 international companies from more than 20 countries coming to Bollywood and Mumbai to woo Indian filmmakers. Participating countries included Azerbaijan, South Africa, the USA, Spain, Lithuania, Kenya, Canada, France, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Serbia, the UK, Australia, Uzbekistan, Bulgaria, Netherlands, and Ukraine, among others.