September 13, 2023 13:22
Seoul's trendy Gangnam district, Myeong-dong shopping hub and Han River are popular settings for more and more foreign movies and dramas.
According to the Seoul Metropolitan Government on Tuesday, domestic and foreign producers of 632 movies and dramas asked the city to find locations and limit traffic for filming last year, and the city government provided support for 268 of them.
The number of requests has risen from 206 productions in 2018, and in the first half of this year alone 185 movies and dramas were filmed in the capital.
Last year 13 were foreign productions -- 11 of them the result of the city government's outreach to Netflix and Amazon. In the first half of this year alone, Amazon filmed 18 movies in Seoul.
The number of foreign movies and dramas filmed in Seoul increased from seven in 2018 to 19 in 2019, but fell to four in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and rose to seven in 2021.
"The global popularity of K-pop and 'Squid Game' is bringing foreign production companies to Seoul," a city official said. Netflix' romcom series "XO, Kitty," which was unveiled in May of this year, was filmed at Seoul N Tower on Mt. Nam, Bukchon Hanok Village and Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
"XO, Kitty" is about an American girl who decides to move all the way to Korea to be reunited with her long-distance boyfriend. The 10-episode series logged a total 72 million viewing hours in the first week of its release, ranking among the top 10 in 90 countries.
A Netflix staffer said, "'XO, Kitty' is an American comedy, but the setting is Seoul. If Seoul's major attractions drew attention in the past, now, it has become the spaces where the stories are told."
In 2021, Apple TV+'s "Pachinko" and French movie "Return to Seoul" were also filmed here.
The city has been supporting productions since 2002 to publicize itself as a tourist destination. Support came in the form of restricting traffic and even money. A budget of about W1.24 billion is earmarked for such projects. "XO, Kitty" for example got W150 million (US$1=W1,328).
So far that has paid off. "We gave W320 million in support to four productions, including 'XO, Kitty' and found that it led to the hiring of more than 570 people, and cast and crew spent five times more than the amount of support during their stay here," the city official said.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com