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Boleh-wood, anyone? How Asean can have a role

4 27 0

LOS ANGELES • There is a certain allure, a Hollywood mystique, of becoming a major film or television production base. It should be no surprise then when national and local governments in South-east Asia explore the movie and TV industry as an added driver of job creation and economic growth.

Through the years, individual Asean member states have produced memorable film locations - if not yet an "Aseanwood" rival to Hollywood, or India's Bollywood.

The Philippines filled in for Vietnam in Apocalypse Now, with its former president, Ferdinand Marcos, said to have offered military pilots and planes to help attract the Francis Ford Coppola production. Malaysia allowed filming at the then world's tallest buildings - the Petronas Towers - for Sean Connery's Entrapment.

Thailand and the Philippines have been among the most successful locations in Asean, with The Bourne Legacy and the Japanese heist film Lupin The Third filmed there in the past few years. Thailand saw James Bond visit in the 1970s in The Man With The Golden Gun and return in the 1990s in Tomorrow Never Dies - this time with Thailand playing the role of Vietnam.

Our work at the Milken Institute California Centre and the Milken Institute Asia Centre in Singapore makes clear, however, that before adopting tax incentives and other economic inducements to foster locally-based production, governments in South-east Asia must better understand the opportunity offered up by the film industry and its limits.

The money can sound tempting. By some counts, the film industry in the United States supports 1.9 million workers and US$47 billion (S$63 billion) in wages in the........

© The Straits Times