Behind the scenes－February, 2016 - Taipei Film Commission
Despite being short-handed and having to operate on a shrinking budget, Taipei Film Commission (TFC) has seen its production assistance services grow year after year. In the previous year (2015), for example, TFC once again set record for assisting in 635 local and foreign productions, which was 124 cases more than the year before. Meanwhile, the number of international co-productions also reached new height at 110, which was 18 cases more than the year before. This growing demand coupled with public expectations have stretched TFC’s production assistance team far beyond its capacity. However, driven by our passion towards Taiwan’s film industry, everyone at TFC is treating this challenge as a “rewarding burden!”
According to year-end statistics, Taipei City’s top-10 filming locations in 2015 were, in descending order of popularity: Beitou Chinese Movie Studio, Bopiliao Historic Block, City Hall rooftop helicopter pad, MRT stations, American Military Housing, Luoyang Car Park, Linsen Hospital, Taipei Zhongshan Hall, Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, and Treasure Hill Artist Village. Beitou Chinese Movie Studio, despite its popularity among production teams, is located close to residential area, and therefore requires more stringent noise control (especially for MV productions) to avoid complaints from Beitou residents. Few days ago a music band booked and shot its MV at Beitou Chinese Movie Studio, but because of delays, the filming did not begin until midnight, which generated noises to the discomfort of nearby residents and attracted police attention. To avoid causing further disturbance to nearby residents, TFC would like to remind production teams not to film at residential areas after 10pm, otherwise TFC will have to suggest other filming locations that are further away from residents.
MRT stations, being the 3rd most popular filming location, were used most frequently for director Cho Li’s Ace of Sales. The production was filmed at several locations including Nanjing Sanmin Station, Xiaonanmen Station and Beitou Depot; it had once filmed for four nights in a row from 11pm until the next morning, and arranged to have train dispatched exclusively for filming. Taipei Rapid Transit Corporation had been especially helpful in the filming, but as much as they tried to, they could neither shut down power along tracks nor allow a scene where cellphone is dropped into the track area because of safety concerns. In addition, French film Les Réminiscence also shot its scenes at MRT Ximen Station, and made use of train services along Xindian Line and Muzha Line. As for Luoyang Car Park, its rooftop was recently used for the filming of an automobile commercial, where "Parkour" practitioners were invited to perform acrobatic moves with vehicles that unnerved the viewers.
SETTV’s time travel drama - Back To 1989 had requested to shoot a car crash scene at Ziqiang Tunnel, but given how the traffic authority was short-handed during the New Year holidays, the production team had no choice but to hire outside expertise to set up traffic cones and direct traffic during the shoot. To their surprise, these outside experts offered much better safety and efficiency in directing traffic than what the production team could accomplish themselves.
New filming locations are being explored each year in Taipei. Director James Hsin’s The Big Power, for example, chose to host its opening press conference at Longmen Square (a location that can only be reserved through TFC) before relocating to Taipei Children’s Amusement Park for further shots. Both locations had attracted fans due to the popularity of lead performers including Jhu Ge-liang, Alien Huang and Christina Mok. The scene shot at Longmen Square was one where Alien Huang had just quit his job as an undercover policeman and became a social volunteer. On the day of the shoot, Taipei City Animal Protection Office brought 5 stray dogs to the scene, and unexpectedly attracted crowd’s attention to the stray dog issue. The footage shot at Taipei Children’s Amusement Park was a dating scene between Alien Huang and Christina Mok. The two of them went on pirate ship rides, teacups rides, carousel and roller coaster rides one after another, which later gave Alien Huang quite an authentic nausea to perform in front of the camera, for which he felt being set-up.