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South Korea: Ideal filming location for movies, TV dramas

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What do the movies “Avengers: Age Of Ultron,” “The Bourne Legacy,” “My Ex And Whys” and “You With Me,” and the TV series “My Korean Jagiya” have in common?

(Clockwise): Camcheon Culture Village, 'My Korean Jagiya’ on Nami Island, KTO Manila Director Inshik Park (Photo courtesy of KTO Manila), Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil and Seongsan (mb.com.ph)

(Clockwise): Camcheon Culture Village, ‘My Korean Jagiya’ on Nami Island, KTO Manila Director Inshik Park (Photo courtesy of KTO Manila), Liza Soberano and Enrique Gil and Seongsan

Some of the scenes in these projects were filmed in South Korea, which offers scenic spots, state-of-the-art technology, rich culture, and location shooting assistance and incentives.

At the “Filming in Korea” forum held at Shangri-La at the Fort organized by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) Manila office, representatives from the Busan Film Commission, Jeju Culture Contents Agency and Film Line presented to Filipino production companies the advantages of choosing Korea as location for Filipino films and TV projects.

KTO Manila Director Inshik Park cited the 2017 Star Cinema movie “My Ex And Whys,” starring Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano, as one of the successful Filipino projects that were filmed in Korea. Some of the scenes were filmed in Nami Island.

Hyejin Jang, KTO Manila senior assistant manager, said many foreign productions made Korea their shooting location including “The Bachelor” and “America’s Next Top Model.”

She added that South Korea has a lot to offer when it comes to filming locations including traditions and nature where one can experience traditional culture like the Bukchon Hanok Village.

“Korea’s unique, traditional heritage cannot be found anywhere else like taekwondo, traditional martial arts, Buddhist dance, lion dance and jultagi (tightrope walking). We also have old palaces that you can feature as a nice background,” she said. “Korea has beautiful landscapes in four distinct seasons.”

She explained that incentives for foreign productions that will film in Korea are given by the Korean Film Council (KOFIC) and 11 regional film commissions, which can help in various ways including location scouting and shooting equipment rental.

Seung-eui Lee, head of production support department of the Busan Film Commission (BFC), said Busan, the second largest city in Korea, is accessible by plane and it is only two hours from Seoul via the KTX train.

Some of the notable films shot in Busan were “Black Panther,” “Train To Busan” and “Along With The Gods: The Two Worlds.”

Lee said 30 percent of Korean films are made in Busan and the BFC has provided assistance to 1,179 films, TV dramas and other projects since 2000. He said Busan offers unique places including the Gamcheon Culture Village, Jagalchi Market, Yacht Stadium, Busan Exhibition and Convention Center (BEXCO) and Busan Port Coastal Ferry Terminal.

Busan has two cinema studios with areas of 837 sq.m. and 1,650 sq.m. that can be used by foreign productions.

Lee said in 2009, the Busan Post Production Centre was opened, the largest of its kind in Korea, which offers services such as digital intermediate, visual effects, digital cinema mastering and sound.

For foreign productions wanting to film in Korea, Lee said they should first apply online. In the pre-production, the BFC will assign a coordinator for the production who will introduce location data including 38,000 photos. The BFC will help in securing permit from public institutions including police, fire station, port and security facilities.

‘Filming in Korea’ speakers Hyojeong Kim of Film Line (1st from left), Heeseok Kim of the Jeju Culture Contents Agency (3rd from left), Seung-eui Lee of the Busan Film Commission (4th from left) and Hyejin Jang (extreme right) (Photo courtesy of KTO Manila) /mb.com.ph

‘Filming in Korea’ speakers Hyojeong Kim of Film Line (1st from left), Heeseok Kim of the Jeju Culture Contents Agency (3rd from left), Seung-eui Lee of the Busan Film Commission (4th from left) and Hyejin Jang (extreme right) (Photo courtesy of KTO Manila)

Incentives granted include complimentary car service for up to one month in the pre-production, up to 20 million won (about R 983,000) for productions that have at least 15 shooting plans in Busan and accommodation support for up to a maximum of 30 nights during location scouting in Busan for those who made a contract with a Korean production company in 2019.

The KOFIC, on the other hand, provides up to 25 percent cash refund on productions costs spent in Korea. Eligible are feature films, TV dramas and documentaries of foreign production companies that will spend at least 100 million won (R 4.9 million) and whose foreign capital is at least 80 percent.

Location manager Heeseok Kim of the Jeju Culture Contents Agency (JCCA) said Jeju Island, a visa-free destination for Filipinos, offers beautiful sceneries including mountains, valleys, streams, beaches and grasslands.

He said as incentives, Jeju offers to rebate 30 percent of money spent when shooting movies or TV dramas over five times in the province that can reach up to 50 million won (R 2.4 million). The JCCA will also provide vehicles such as generator trucks and lighting equipment.

Kim said an indoor studio will be built consisting of 2 studios with areas of 1,500 sq. m. and 900 sq. m. that is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

On the other hand, producer Hyojeong Kim of the Korean production company Film Line said her company produces films, TV programs and commercials. It has provided production services to international projects including the Filipino film “Kimmy Dora And The Temple Of Kiyeme” and it co-produced the movie “You With Me,” which starred Devon Seron, Hyun Woo and Jin Ju-hyeong. Its aim is to co-produce with Pan Asian productions.

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