Asian Filmmakers Pick Seoul as Prime Location

      April 27, 2011 07:14

      Seoul is becoming an increasingly popular location for Asian filmmakers. Two Malaysian films "I Have... You?" and "No Marked Grave" are being filmed in Seoul at the moment. Shooting began on April 6, and over 90 percent of both movies are set in several locations in the capital, including the Cheonggye Stream, the shopping districts of Dongdaemun and Myeong-dong, and Mt. Nam in the heart of the city.

      Pencil Pictures, the producer of these two films, came back to Seoul after huge success of their 2010 TV series "The Calling of Nami Island." A company staffer said, "'The Calling of Nami Island' got stellar viewer ratings. We felt that the setting in Seoul was a major factor of the success, so we decided to shoot the two new films here as well." 

      Foreign film makers used to visit Seoul primarily to make promo videos or joint venture films in the past. But when Thai film "Hello Stranger," a film about romance between a young Thai man and woman who meet in Seoul while on holiday, became a major box office hit last year by drawing 1.4 million viewers, nine production companies from Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, India and Japan visited Seoul. Nuengthida Sophon, who starred in "Hello Stranger," won the Subanahongsa award for best actress at the Thai Annual Film Festival 2010.

      A scene from the Thai movie "Hello Stranger" shot at Lotte World in Seoul last year /Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government

      Seoul is clearly benefitting. An official at the Seoul Metropolitan Government said, "The Korean Wave sweeping across Asia seems to have contributed to the success of the Thai film shot here. Thanks to the success of 'Hello Stranger,' the number of Thai tourists to Seoul jumped by about 40 percent."

      The Seoul Metropolitan Government is running a program for the foreign production companies that funds 25 percent of the production costs up to W100 million (US$1=W1,086) spent in Seoul, as well as reducing red tape in getting permission to film in public places and blocking traffic. An official at the city government said, producers of films and TV series shot in Seoul are revisiting Seoul to negotiate further projects.

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