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Seoul to build Hollywood-style studio

A Hollywood-style movie studio will be built in Seoul to promote Korea’s burgeoning filmmaking industry and to attract foreign travelers, the Seoul Metropolitan Government said Wednesday.

As part of the “Digital Media City” project in Sangam-dong, western Seoul, the new movie complex will accommodate facilities for special effects, large-scale sets, a theme park and other tourist attractions.

Scheduled to be completed by 2014, it aims to become the largest cultural content hub in Asia, city officials said.

“The cultural content industry will make money and create jobs for Seoul citizens for the next 100 years,” Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said during a news conference.

“It is a low-carbon green industry that has a ripple effect across industries. It will become a new growth engine for mega cities like Seoul.”

The city has earmarked 170 billion won ($152 million) for the new plan, which will be built on the former oil storage site of 35,000 square meters.

The filmmaking complex will have the world’s largest facility for computer graphic work, which consists of three virtual studios, and a 5,000-square-meter indoor set featuring police station, courtroom, hotel and hospital.

For other tourist attractions, a theme park specializing in online gaming and animation will be set up near the new complex, while shopping malls, concert halls and hotels will fill the neighboring commercial areas.

The DMC project, which started in 2002, is a plan to create a new media cluster on a former garbage disposal site abandoned for decades.

Currently, major broadcasting stations, newspapers and other IT companies have agreed to move into the media center building. When the planned relocation of other film production and distribution companies is completed, city officials expect that the whole process of filmmaking will be possible within the complex.

“When the DMC project is finally completed by 2015, about 68,000 high-quality permanent jobs will be created, with its annual profits reaching 35 trillion won,” Oh said.

Citing the successful case of New Zealand, which gained positive exposure for its national brand through providing a location for the movie “Lord of the Rings,” he said: “A hit movie can upgrade the city or the national brand.”

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)
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