x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dangling carrots and Tom Cruise draws interest

The Life: Tom Cruise dangling from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was only the beginning. Since the latest Mission: Impossible, governments in the Emirates and wider region have unveiled financial incentives to attract international film crews.

Tom Cruise, left, stars in Mission: Impossible. Pawan Singh / The National
Tom Cruise, left, stars in Mission: Impossible. Pawan Singh / The National

Tom Cruise dangling from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was only the beginning.

Since the latest Mission: Impossible aired on the big screen last year, several governments in the Emirates and wider region have unveiled financial incentives to increase their efforts to attract international film crews.

The Dubai Government has set up a film and television commission to actively pursue international film-makers and convince them to shoot scenes, or whole movies, in the emirate. Although details are yet to be released, the move was announced a week after a similar initiative was made public by the Abu Dhabi Government last month.

That programme offers international film-makers 30 per cent discounts on a range of affiliated costs such as transport and accommodation while in the emirate.

India, which is the world's largest film industry in terms of ticket sales, has joined the bandwagon in seeking overseas film crews.

The tourism and broadcast ministries hope it will boost India's tourism sector, too. In February, India's tourism ministry, and the information and broadcasting ministry, joined forces in a bid to attract international moviemakers.

The ministries will "work with the states for single-window permission so that moviemakers find ways to get permission for shooting," said India's tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahai.

India is poised to have a US$5 billion film industry by 2014, the US Senator Chris Dodd, who is also the chairman and chief executive of the Motion Picture Association of America, said in March.

Foreign film crews often blame India's red tape for delays in shoots in the country. It is also one of the reasons Indian film crews, which are usually from the Hindi film industry based in Mumbai and known as Bollywood, travel overseas to shoot their films.

Shooting in India also improves an international film's prospects in the subcontinental market, analysts have said.

According to PricewaterhouseCoopers, ticket sales for foreign films are expected to grow to 130 billion rupees (Dh8.51bn) by next year. Kathryn Bigelow, the director who won an Academy Award for The Hurt Locker, is the latest big international director to shoot in India.

She has set a part of her film Zero Dark Thirty in a city in northern India to depict Osama Bin Laden's last hideout in Abbottabad.

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