Monday, August 13, 2012

Seoul City: lovable for every directors to shoot their movies

Tony Gilroy, right, director of “The Bourne Legacy,” looks through a viewfinder during filming in Seoul in June last year.

/ Courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government

In the latest movie of the Bourne series, “The Bourne Legacy” to be released soon, an intelligence agent is killed on a subway train.

Seoul citizens may feel familiar with the design of the train and the platform, because the scene was filmed at Suseo Station in southern Seoul.

Not only the subway but also the signs along the Gangnam Street and a panoramic view of the city seen from the top of Asem Tower appear in the Hollywood blockbuster that is currently showing in U.S. theaters.

The film is one of 97 movies, soap operas and television programs shown in 17 countries featuring location shots of the Korean capital since 2007, when Seoul City started supporting production companies from overseas filming here.

Filming for movies and television programs for Southeast Asian countries account for 25 percent of total production activity here, and the boom in using Seoul as a location by companies from these nations arose after a Thai movie “Hello, Stranger,” featuring various tourist attractions in Seoul, was a big hit in 2009.

The city government offers financial support to foreign filmmakers.

“When a director and a screenwriter come to Seoul to select filming sites, we pay part of their airfare and accommodation and have a location guide accompany them. We also pay 25 percent of the production cost here, up to 100 million won per film,” a city official said.

So far, the city has paid 1.5 billion won in production costs for 50 films and programs produced for 13 countries.

“During the first half of this year, 10 films and programs were filmed here. For the latter half, about eight production companies are contacting with us and five of them are expected to work here,” a city official said.

Earlier this year, the final rounds of Indonesian audition program “Galaxy Super Star” were filmed here, and the 30 final-round contestants were filmed on their visit to the city’s tourist attractions and broadcast across Indonesia.

The city official said more and more foreign production outfits are looking to Seoul for locations; not only from Asian countries but also within Hollywood. “Korea has quality film crews. If we can offer them more support for scenes they want, such as car chases or explosions, I believe more Hollywood movies will be filmed here,” she said.

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