A letter to the editor on filming in the city center


Dear Editor,


 Nowadays, the international filming industry is booming, and due to the unique skyline and view of Hong Kong, many Hollywood filming production companies choose Hong Kong as their filming sites. They love shooting in the city centre like Central or Tsim Sha Tsui. However, I think shooting in the city centre will bring more harm than good to the city and the citizens of Hong Kong, and I think it should be banned.

 As we all know, the centre of this city is extremely busy, with a large flow of traffic, but of course, the filming crew would not want these people and traffic to exist in their masterpieces. Therefore, they have to block the roads, stopping all the traffic, to get their job done. Nonetheless, it will cause a huge mess. The traffic would have to be diverted, and people will not be able to pass the roads blocked by the filming crew. There is no doubt that people’s life will be affected, just because a film maker would like to use Central as the background in his film, for example. This has happened before. In 2014, when Michael Bay wanted to film the latest Transformer movie in Hong Kong, the roads near the Admiralty area were blocked by the Transformer crew, because they wanted to put the Legislative Council and the Government Headquarter in his film. This stopped all the people from going into the surrounding area and the transport on the ground was forced to be suspended.

 Moreover, since drones and computer graphics technology are getting more advanced these days, so such disruption is completely unnecessary. For instance, both the movie “Skyscrapers” and “Ghost in the Shell” have the scene of the city centre of Hong Kong, but disturbances have never happened, as computer graphics and drones are used to finish the shooting. It does not only resolve the issue of having disturbances to people’s life, it also lets the audiences of the film learn the beauty of Hong Kong. More importantly, the view of the city’s centre is pretty realistic, as I have watched both films. As a Hongkonger, I didn’t feel odd about the scenes of the city’s centre of both movies. This proves the reliability of the advanced tech.

 It is understandable that people may have a concern about whether the image of Hong Kong will be affected, if Hong Kong government denies the film makers the right to film in the city’s centre, which may give local film production companies a perception that Hong Kong does not support the already failing local film making industry. However, it must be clarified that such restriction is not unique. For example, New York City Council has stopped the film makers filming at the Times Square, as it once caused the huge disturbances to the traffic. Also, in the policy address this year, Carrie Lam has promised to establish a movie fund of 1 billion to support the movie industry, which shows the government’s support of the local filming industry. Obviously, such concern is not necessary.

 In conclusion, film shooting should not be carried out at the city’s centre, as it certainly causes disruption to the citizens, and as the computer graphics have been proved that the virtual effects can be very realistic, shooting in the real place is not a must.

Yours faithfully,


Raymond Chan