Movie fans have only a few weeks left to visit the set in New Taipei City (新北市) used to shoot some of the pivotal scenes in the Taiwanese epic Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale before it closes in the middle of next month.
Opened to the public in September last year, the set features a recreation of a street and school from a central Taiwan town where an uprising by the Sediq tribe against Japanese rule portrayed in the movie took place in 1930.
Taiwan was a colony of Japan from 1895 to 1945.
The 3.5 hectare set was built on a hill in the suburb of Linkou (林口) for NT$80 million (US$2.64 million) by a Japanese arts production team led by Yohei Taneda. Visitors can stroll on the main street and walk into some of the Japanese-style wooden houses, where the main characters left their footprints.
Many of the 36 houses are adorned with props such as old books and household accessories to recreate the scenes in the blockbuster film.
Visitors can also try on the Sediq tribal costumes to get a more personal feel of the story, according to the New Taipei City Government, which has been managing the site since it was donated by the film crew.
Capitalizing on the popularity of the movie, the site has attracted 212,000 visitors from home and abroad as of the end of last month. It will be open to the public until Feb. 12. Most of the foreign visitors have been from China, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea, municipal government officials said.
“Such a site represents an opportunity to promote historical and cultural education, as well as help the development of local movies,” New Taipei City’s cultural affairs department said, adding that the facility had also boosted local tourism.
“This has created a three-win situation for the local government, the public and the movie industry,” one official said.
However, the government will not be able to keep the site open beyond next month due to issues such as the cost of renting the site.
The movie’s executive producer, Jimmy Huang (黃志明), said it was unfortunate that the set would not be open longer, “but we understand the difficulties of keeping the set open permanently.”
The municipal government said it has been in talks with other local governments and Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖), the film’s director, on what to do with the structures and items on the set.
“The structures will be torn down or moved to other locations,” it said, adding that a final decision has not been made.
The NT$700 million film was well-received in Taiwan, taking in NT$23 million when it debuted on Sept. 9, the most on opening day for any Taiwanese film. To date, it has grossed NT$880 million in Taiwan.
It has also been well received in the international community. Many countries, including Australia, France, New Zealand, the UK and the US have bought the movie rights.
In November, it won best feature film at Taiwan’s Golden Horse Awards, which is considered the Chinese equivalent of the Oscars.