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FWICE initiates talks with ministry of cultural affairs for resumption of work 

The mother body of film industry employee unions initiated talks discussing issues such as a financial package, designing of new policies, availing rent-free locations for future shoots among others. 

Our Correspondent

The Federation of Western Indian Cine Employees (FWICE) carried forward the process of laying down guidelines for resumption of work in the film industry with yet another conference with Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, chief secretary of cultural affairs in Maharashtra. In their talks, FWICE discussed the implementation of a financial package to support the industry, the setting down of new policies in view of the COVID-19 epidemic, and availing locations for future shoots. 

The federation has been in constant communication with the Maharashtra state government in order to speed up efforts to restart film and televlsion production. Film shoots and productions have been shut down since mid-March, when the government announced its first lockdown in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The resulting shutdown has caused a massive financial loss, as well as throwing the lives of several film industry workers and employees at risk. While there have been several voluntary industry members helping out people, the federation has sought financial help from the state government. 

In its recent discussion with Dr Mukherjee, the federation asked for 'a proper financial package to be worked out by the state government. 

The meeting was hosted by filmmaker and advisor Ashoke Pandit, FWICE president BN Tiwari (president, FWICE), and general secretary Ashok Dubey. 

The meeting saw several key points take centre stage. These include the resumption of post-production activities immediately keeping to the health, safety, and securty guidelines put forward by the government, along with a financial package by the state government to help balance the losses faced by the industry due to the lockdown. 

The federation requests the state government to approach insurance companies to lay down new policies in view of the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid future incidents, and provide premises for free to production houses for carrying out shoots, along with a single-window permission. 

Furthermore, no rentals on sets kept in studios, particularly Film City in Mumbai. The shoot permissions should also be available at subsidized rates till the city gets back to normalcy. There would be regular intervention and interaction between state government and federation of the industry to keep abreast of the functioning, while the SOPs put forward by the federation for the resumption of work and shoots will be reviewed and applied by the ministry. 

The current lockdown has been in place since mid-March, and is likely to end by 1 June. The Producers Guild of India has already put forward an SOP that has been reviewed and accepted by the ministry. In addition, the Multiplex Owners Association of India has also put forward a series of steps that will be put in place when theatres reopen. 

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