Korean stars in Davao-A A +A
Friday, August 30, 2013
WHAT would you do if popular Korean film and TV stars descend upon Davao for a movie shoot?
For Department of Tourism (DOT)-Davao Region Director Art Boncato that means rolling out the red carpet the Davao way.
Korean stars Lee Jong-Suk and Seo In-Guk were in Davao a few weeks ago to shoot their film "No Breathing." Also among the cast were Korean pop (K-Pop) star Shin Minchul and dramatic actor Park Jung Chul. K-Pop girl group star Gwon Yuri is part of the cast but producers said she had no scenes here in Davao.
Fans of Jong-Suk and In-Guk had a field day following their idols, perhaps a rare opportunity when East Asian celebrities would come to Davao.
In 2007, Japanese superstar Takuya Kimura came to Davao particularly in Monkayo to shoot a movie alongside Josh Hartnett.
Boncato said the film producers discovered Davao when a Dabawenyo contingent visited South Korea June of this year as participants of the 26th Korean World Travel Fair.
Sung-Jun Yang, head of production and project department of 9ers Entertainment, a film distribution company which had helped out during the shoot, said they were initially offered the cities of Manila, Cebu and Davao as possible shooting locations but chose Davao because it would be quieter to shoot in this part of the country.
Boncato, who took the production team while they were looking around Davao, said the Koreans were impressed by the cleanliness and the abundance of the locality plus the hospitality of the Dabawenyos.
Sung-Jun Yang said that in the film, Davao will really be mentioned. "In our film, Davao is very famous in the world because of its swimming club, where our characters will compete," he said. Apart from mentioning Davao, about 15 minutes of the film will show the scenes being shot here.
The producers brought along their 84-man crew, including 15 actors. This is the film producers’ first shoot outside of Korea.
No Breathing revolves around two top national swimmers who fall for the same girl. Jun Yang said this would be Korea's first movie about swimming.
He said by having popular stars in the movie it is estimated that about three-million people are expected to watch the film during the theatrical release in November.
Lee Jong-Suk is a popular model turned actor, many Filipinos will associate him as one of the casts in the TV series Secret Garden which is his most well-known role to date. While Seo In-Guk is another popular Korean singer actor and many Filipinos will associate him for his role in Love Rain another Korean series which was shown on ABS-CBN.
Meanwhile Kwon Yuri is a member of the very popular girl group SNSD or Girls Generation. In No Breathing, Yuri plays Jung Eun a musician who will be the object of affection between the two lead stars.
The Davao locations were Pearl Farm, Aldevinco Shopping Center, Marco Polo Davao and the Davao del Norte Sports Complex Aquatic Facility in Tagum City which, Jun Yang said, is the site of the prestigious swimming club where the characters will compete in the early part of the film.
I was fortunate enough to see the Korean stars up close during a welcome dinner tendered by the DOT and the Marco Polo Davao at the Jade Ballroom of the Hotel.
A Davao welcome was prepared with sumptuous delicacies and ethnic performance by the Kalumon Ensemble, the group that participated in the Korean Travel Fair last June.
Boncato said attracting the film producers was part of the DOT strategy in positioning the region as a film location and also one of the efforts in luring the South Korean tourism market.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 31, 2013.