Cashing in on film fame
This week, people are flocking to Hokkaido in northern Japan for the Sapporo Snow Festival. The prefecture has been welcoming other visitors, too, including movie fans. Guests arrive at the slopes at Akaigawa Village, a ski resort about 90 minutes by car from Sapporo.
The crowd includes a number of people from Thailand. But they haven’t come to ski. Instead, what has brought them here is this bell. They’re on a tour of locations featured in a movie that become a hit in Thailand. The group gather under the bell for a commemorative photo. The resort is making the most of the opportunity. It has organized a “stamp rally” at locations used in the film.
Local authorities are keen to attract more filmmakers. Sapporo provides a subsidy of up to about 88,000 dollars for location shoots inside the city. About 10 titles are produced with the subsidy and screened abroad every year.
-It’s a new way to enjoy a resort. Instead of just coming for a visit, they’re having fun revisiting the movie. I hope we’ll see more of this in the future.
–Being featured in a movie or drama gives us a chance to see our community in a new light, and to develop things that we may not have been aware of before. I feel that there’s great potential and we’ll continue to explore it.
Japan welcomed a record number of overseas visitors last year, and this year, government officials expect even more. Location tours of films shot in Japan could be one more way to keep tourists coming.
Beijing issues first smog re alert
From the morning of December 8th to the afternoon of the 10th, Beijing authorities have issued the first ever smog red alert, the highest possible pollution warning. As a result all schools will be closed and construction projects halted. Factories have also been told to limit their production in the Chinese capital during this time. On Tuesday morning the intensity of PM 2.5 particles was at 291 micrograms per cubic meter, well above the safe level of 25 micrograms set by the WHO.