I’ve been to Paju twice, once for the Gyeonggi English Village, another being the recent visit to Myung Films Art Center and Myung Films Institute, the film production company and school that produces award-winning hit films such as “Joint Security Area” (Year 2000), “Architecture 101” (Year 2012) and “Cart” (Year 2014).
Paju is a city located in the Gyeonggi Province, about an hour and a half’s drive from Seoul. When we visited on a weekday, the city was quiet, seemed a little slow-paced and tranquil, unlike the hustle and bustle in Seoul.
The friendly atmosphere makes for an ideal location for Myung Films Art Center to be situated at, away from the jam packed city, where filmmakers can concentrate on the productions and filmmaking for the next big movie.
In Myung Films Art Center, there is a cinema that opens to the public on weekends, as well as a cafe filled with books about animations and filmmaking.
We were given a tour around the building and campus, and were fortunate enough to catch a short preview of “A Stray Goat” (starring GOT7’s Jinyoung) and “In Between Seasons” (starring Ji Yoon Ho and Lee Won Geun), which have yet to be released in the Korea cinemas. Best of all, we learned that these two movies were filmed entirely by the students of Myung Films Institute!
We had a quick chat with Ms. Oh Chaejin, Planning Department Manager of the Production Team, and found out that it’s completely free to study the making of films at Myung Films Institute!
It sounds too good to be true, but all students enrolled in the school will go through a two-year course where they’ll learn about filmmaking, scenarios, casting, animations and more. On top of that, their in-house lodging, meals and school fees will all be paid for and sponsored by the filming companies! At the end of the two years, the students will produce a film together before they graduate.
There’s no age limit to enrol in the school, though they have not received any foreign applications so far. If you’re into filmmaking and you’re fluent in Korean, try giving it a shot and you might be on your way to producing the next big movie in South Korea!
Currently in the preparations for a new movie “7호 실 (Room Number 7)” starring EXO’s D.O. (Do Kyung-soo) as the lead character, Ms. Oh revealed that they will begin filming in end December, and are planning to produce another two more movies in 2017. Myung Films is also in talks with a Taiwan film company for the remake of Korean movie “Architecture 101” with Chinese actors and actresses.
Myung Films has seen much success in the movie industry having produced 36 films over 20 years. When asked about the casting process, Ms. Oh tells us that casting is usually done at Myung Films Art Center. They will begin by sending scenario drafts to the respective agencies after discussing with the investors, producers and directors on the potential candidates whom they have in mind. (And the casting process can take as fast as a week or even up to a year!)
Moving forward, we also visited the Paju Book City located nearby which houses the renowned cafe and library within the massive complex. Truly worth a visit for its architectural scene that blends with the surrounding nature!
Trust us, Paju Book City is where all architecture lovers would want to be at. You can get here by taking bus no. 2200, 200 or shuttle bus to the Book City at Hapjeong subway station (Line 2) in Seoul.
With many more places to explore in Paju such as Heyri Art Valley, Provence Village, Pinocchio Museum and more, there is definitely a reason for you to get out of Seoul and visit Paju when you’re in South Korea!
Check out other related traveling guides & tips:
Top 7 Things To Experience in Seoul At A Low Cost or For Free
Why Pyeongchang May Be The Next Hot Destination in South Korea
(Photos by: Nicole)