Since the City of Seoul began supporting the production of foreign films in Seoul as a part of the city’s marketing strategy back in 2007, films produced by 17 countries, including Japan, the United States, France, Malaysia and Thailand, have featured Seoul as a backdrop a total of 97 times. Seoul can also be seen in “The Bourne Legacy,” the fourth film in the “Bourne” series, which is scheduled for release this September. The city is also attracting attention as it appears in an Indonesian television drama and both French and American documentaries.
In Southeast Asia, the formula “filmed in Seoul equals guaranteed box office hit” is becoming more widespread as the 2009 Thai film Hello Stranger attracted 1.3 million viewers, while 1.37 million viewed its sequel Kimmy Dora following its release in the Philippines last June. It was reported on Monday by the City of Seoul that the number of films shot in Seoul doubled in the four years leading up to 2011. As evidence of this, Southeast Asian countries including Malaysia, China, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines have been filming in the city so much since 2010 that they currently account for 25% of all filming in Seoul.
The City of Seoul also operates an “incentives program” for foreign film production that takes place in Seoul, which includes the reimbursement of up to 25% (up to a maximum of 100 million won) of production costs to help with airfares and accommodation, and the provision of location scouting support and a location coordinator. In the first half of this year alone, ten shoots in Seoul for foreign television programs and films were wrapped up and these are now being shown in their respective countries. The City of Seoul plans to implement policies for continued support in order to keep alive this emerging trend of featuring Seoul as a location for foreign filming, hoping to reach Hollywood movies, dramas and survival auditions.