New York City, a favourite locale for Indian filmmakers, just got better, thanks to a lawsuit filed by docu maker Rakesh Sharma. Those with handheld equipment will no longer need a permit to shoot or have $1 million in insurance.
Sharma had sued the NYC administration two years ago after being detained by the police for several hours in May 2005 for filming on a pavement with a handheld video camera.
Sharma was told during his detention that he needed a film permit to shoot in NYC. Subsequently, when he applied for one, he was turned down by the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcast.
In January 2006 the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a suit on his behalf against the city's filmmaking practices and Sharma's detention.
In response to this, New York City will, for the first time, create written rules for issuing permits to filmmakers and photographers; those with handheld equipment will not require a city permit or have $1 million in insurance.
By agreeing to frame new rules and paying Sharma damages, the case has been fully settled.
'As a filmmaker and activist I was deeply troubled by having to obtain government permission to make a political documentary,' Rakesh Sharma was quoted by sajaforum.org. 'This settlement will free me and other filmmakers from unnecessary government control.'