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Seoul used as backdrop for more Asian films

All Headlines 11:55 April 22, 2011

SEOUL, April 22 (Yonhap) -- Two Malaysian movies are being shot in Seoul following the box office success of a Thai film also set in the South Korean capital, the municipal government said Friday, setting a trend that could attract more tourists to the country.

Shooting on the two films, titled "I Have ... You?" and "No Marked Grave," started earlier this month in some of Seoul's tourist hotspots, including Cheonggyecheon stream, Myeongdong shopping district and Mount Namsan, all in the city center, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said in a press release.

Their production comes shortly after the success of the Thai film "Hello Stranger," which topped the country's box office last year and won several prestigious awards at home and abroad. The movie, 90 percent of which was shot in Seoul, went down as the sixth most successful in Thai film history.

The Seoul government is assisting these projects by providing filming permits for public places, supplies and equipment free of charge; controlling traffic; and enabling filming from helicopters, the release said. It also launched an incentive program in 2007 to finance up to 25 percent, or a maximum of 100 million won (US$92,380), of costs spent in Seoul by foreign production companies or foreign-South Korean joint projects.

Through the program aimed at "city marketing through visual materials and fostering the domestic film industry," the municipal government has supported a total of 37 projects and also plans to partially fund the making of "I Have ... You?"

"By actively inviting domestic and foreign visual works to shoot in Seoul and by providing systematic support, we will try to attract more tourists," said Ma Chae-sook, a city official in charge of culture and design industry. She cited a 40 percent increase in Thai tourists to South Korea thanks to the popularity of "Hello Stranger."

In choosing Seoul, foreign filmmakers were initially attracted by its potential to draw the interest of Hallyu fans, or followers of South Korean popular culture.

"Now, such interest is leading to box office success, creating the equation 'Seoul shoot=Guarantee of success at home,'" the city government said in its release.

"I Have ... You?" is a comedy set at a music college where students compete and work together on songs, dances, musicals and other performances. The horror flick "No Marked Grave" tells the tale of a Malaysian man tormented by guilt after killing his girlfriend. About 90 percent of both films are expected to be shot in Seoul.


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