New Taipei City (新北市) has welcomed the burgeoning Taiwanese film industry to the city and is hopeful it can create more film-friendly locations in the future, the New Taipei City Government said amid the city’s growing popularity as a hot spot for Taiwanese filmmakers.
“Movies are a production that not only provides entertainment, but also reflects current social realities. The city government hopes to create a friendlier environment for the production of Taiwanese television series when the film industry enters the city in the future,” the city government recently said.
With the rise of Taiwanese movies and “idol dramas” — a particular brand of televised drama featuring pop idols or other celebrities as major characters — more and more of the sites the city’s residents are accustomed to as part of their everyday lives are being brought to the silver screen.
Among the many sights is the state-owned Bali Psychiatric Center located in the city’s Bali District (八里), whose restaurant was featured in the Taiwanese drama series Dong Men Si Shao (東門四少), a popular production that depicts how four young chefs strive to keep a 100-year-old food stand alive.
Several patients at the care center were originally invited to star in the television show, but were later replaced by temporary actors due to concerns over the possible exposure of their identities, the care center said.
Other well-received film locations in the city include the New Taipei City Police Department’s Rueifang Precinct, a thirty-year-old building that was rennovated in 1999.
The drama series, Independent Heroes (廉政英雄), recounts a series of landmark criminal cases and which involved the rental of several of the city’s police stations, including the Shulin Precinct and the Sijhih Precinct’s Hongnei Police Station, for location shoots.
According to the police, filmmakers in the past were more inclined to set up replica rooms of police stations when shooting scenes related to the police force, but most of these conflicted with real-life situations, the police said.
“Sometimes, actors who played police officers were seen clad in unrealistic or badly fitting uniforms, wearing inappropriate rank insignia. There were also times when uniformed police officers were absurdly placed among a group of investigators,” a police officer said.
However, such ludicrous situations have become relatively rare in recent years, the police said, as most producers would seek to bring their crews to an actual police station in an effort to make their productions mimic reality.
In addition to police stations, some Taiwanese films, among them the romance series Bad Girls (女孩壞壞), also preferred shooting outdoor scenes in various districts of the city renowned for their scenic splendor.
Episodes of the romance series have been filmed in the city’s Tamsui District (淡水), Rueifang District’s (瑞芳) Houtong Village (侯硐) and Pingsi’s (平溪) Jingtong Village (菁桐).