As the largest producer of films in the world, the Indian film industry produces between 1,500 and 2,000 films annually. European governments, tourism ministries and film commissions, have recently started promoting their respective countries as film-shooting destinations. This charged context of increasing competition in attracting film-makers to new locations and the international circulation of Indian cinema has created new types of cultural connections and economic cooperation opportunities between India and European countries. The infrastructure of shooting films in foreign places enables promotion of tourism, employment opportunities, knowledge sharing, and country branding with long-term economic and transcultural effects. This project will analyze how different locations shape and are shaped by film production as well as by film circulation. First, the project aims to understand the infrastructure of film productions in foreign locations, the specificities of chosen locales, looking at the linkages within the film industry and at spillovers to other sectors. Second, we propose to look at the mechanisms of awareness raising due to seeing specific locations on the screen. Images created by films produce meanings, which influence people's attitudes and behavior. The project aims to understand how viewers respond to the use of foreign locations in attitudes and behavior. 

Scientific and societal contribution

This research will draw on theoretical and interdisciplinary developments in film studies (ecology of film production and distribution, textual and visual analysis), film geography (the location of places and spaces as informing cultural and economic interlinkages), cultural studies (diaspora studies and globalization) and public policy (role of institutional actors and local and national policies) to situate and offer an exploration of potential socio-economic impacts of shooting Indian films in several locations in Europe.

Project objectives

• To map the scale and analyse the specific locations across Europe where Indian films are being shot (European-wide and country-specific analyses)
• To identify the specific nature of the infrastructure that allows for easy mobility of film crews to these European locations
• To investigate the construction of place through the use of European locations in Indian cinema
• To analyse the socio-economic impact of the Indian film industry in Europe and in India
• To promote and support local and regional development in Europe and India through the Indian film industries

Research steps

WP1: Project management and communication

WP2: Mapping of screen locations

Research questions: How are screen locations selected by the Indian film industry from across European territory? What is the relationship between spaces and places in the movies (geographical and cultural representations of cities, regions, countries)? How is a country's imagination constructed via the locations mobilized in the cinema?

WP3: The infrastructure of film production

Research questions: What are the expectations of Indian producers towards European partners? How does Europe across different scales (cities/regions/states) attract the Indian film industry? How do we understand the mechanisms of infrastructure that make the collaboration possible? What kind of collaborations have evolved in the last few decades?

WP4: Audience research

Research questions: How do audiences make the connections between spaces and places (India/different European countries/cities) featured in the movies? How do European audiences perceive the use of certain locations in these films?

WP5: The impact of Indian film industries on place

Research questions: What is the relationship between the Indian and European film industries in relation to their development trajectories in European locations? What are the local socio­economic spill-over effects? What is the impact of co­production on Indian and European cinematography? Does it have any deeper cultural influence? Does it influence the culture of film production? What kind of data about the Indian film industries is needed by interested stakeholders to promote and support local and regional development in Europe and India?