By Kim Tae-jong
NAMYANGJU, Kyonggi Province - Have you ever wondered how the movie "JSA (Joint Security Area)" was shot in the truce village of Panmunjom located in the middle of the Demilitarized Zone between South and North Koreas? Or how the film "Chihwason (Chihwaseon
)" was able to contain scenes of a village from the late Choson Kingdom?
Since its foundation in 1997 by the Korean Film Council, the Seoul Studio Complex in Namyangju, Kyonggi Province has provided local and international filmmakers with location supports and other facilities.
Outfitted with six cinematography studios and various indoor and outdoor sets in its 400,000-pyong (1.3 square meters) of land as well as movie production equipment and facilities, the complex is also open to ordinary people who want to have an inside look at the sets and uncover the behind-the-scenes secrets of popular local movies.
Many local movies including the latest hits "Untold Scandal
" and "Silmido
" have been made at studios in the complex. And currently, an upcoming horror movie "Inhyongsa (Doll Master
)" is being shot at an indoor set of a two-storey doll museum, where the main characters are involved in murder cases.
"It's convenient and cost effective to make indoor sets", said An Young-jin, line producer of "Doll Master
". "With the development of camera and lighting equipment technology, it is almost impossible to recognize the artificiality of indoor sets when you are watching movies".
The producer added, "Indoor sets enable filmmakers to depict more natural scenes since they don't need to worry about walls or angles of camera since they can easily put in or get rid of walls".
Although visitors are not allowed to see indoor sets of movies currently in production since the complex is basically run for moviemakers, about a thousand people a day visit the complex and feel as if they are part of movies they saw.
"With the growing popularity of local movies", said Yi Kyung-yull, director of studio management department in the Seoul Studio Complex, "More and more people are now coming here to see how movies are made". "Compared to the Universal Studios in the United States, our complex might be disappointing, but we are now making efforts to improve the quality of our facilities so visitors can enjoy them", Yi added.
The complex features two outdoor sets used for "JSA" in 2000 and "Chihwaseon
" in 2001 along with the recreation of a traditional house called "Woondang", which is often used for television dramas.
The recreation of "Panmunjom" area was made based on the actual location in Paju, Kyonggi Province, which became the most popular place in the complex after the success of JSA, and the folk village from "Chihwaseon
" consists of about 60 traditional houses along with traditional shops and restaurants, modeled on one of the villages of Chongno, Seoul in the 19th century.
"Since I was fascinated by South Korean soap operas and films, I really wanted to visit here and see how they were made", said Patricia Ang, a tourist from Singapore, who was looking around the outdoor set of JSA.
As a big fan of South Korean melodrama such as "Kaul Tonghwa (Autumn in my Heart
)", "Kyoul Yonga (Winter Sonata
)" and "All In", she was spending the first day of her five-day trip to Seoul in the complex.
And to give visitors a more interesting demonstration of how movies are made, the main building of the complex, the Film Supporting Hall, has several special rooms such as the Film Cultural Hall, the Visual Experience Room, and a warehouse for properties used in movies.
The Film Cultural Hall shows the history of local movies and displays photos, posters and film equipment. In the Visual Experience Room, visitors can see and try to use movie related facilities and up-to-date equipment. And there are about 400,000 properties used in movies, commercials and TV programs on display in the warehouse, ranging from small gadgets to costumes.
Seoul Studio Complex
Where: Sambong-ni, Namyangju, Kyonggi Province
When: Everyday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. except for Mondays
How much: From 2,000 won to 3,000 won
Info: call (031) 579-0600 or visit www.kofic.or.kr