By Lori Lyn Lirio
MARIANAS Visitors Authority Managing Director Chris Concepcion expressed hope that the CNMI will once again be the center of attention in international film arena as China’s top film production is on Saipan to shoot for a popular TV series ‘Seven Days’.
“This film will provide millions of dollars worth of exposure for the CNMI which we could not afford,” Concepcion said in an email to Variety.
He said it was Imperial Pacific International who invited the film crew to shoot on the islands.
“The MVA has been very supportive of their needs to find locations for filming. We offer a perfect backdrop for their film plot. We have perfect weather, clean air and clean water, friendly locals and a very efficient film permitting process.”
The MVA also assisted the film production get the filming permits issued by the Department of Public Lands.
According to Concepcion, it was not the first time that the CNMI was featured in the Chinese-produced TV show. In 2015, he said, Chinese TV show ‘Running Man’ which scenes were shot on Saipan boosted the profile of the CNMI in the China market.
“The show was watched by tens of millions of viewers nationwide. Reruns are still played in China so the exposure value for the CNMI is beyond what we expected.”
For the ‘Seven Days’, Concepcion said the exposure the CNMI gets is ‘tremendous.’
“It complements our work we do to market the CNMI as a paradise destination for families, couples, singles, seniors, sports enthusiasts, nature lovers, business owners and film companies. We are a paradise for everyone.”
The ‘Seven Days’ production crew will be here for over a month.
Concepcion added the film crew has hired several local businesses to assist them with their production. They have hired local film companies to help them with logistics and ground transportation. There are also few locals who are featured as extras.
“I believe the crew is still looking for locals who may wish to play a part in this film.”
“They’ve rented space and purchased props to use while filming. With this being a crew of over 150 actors and support staff, they are renting hotel rooms, eating in restaurants, purchasing groceries, purchasing souvenirs and gifts, partaking in tourist activities, renting vehicles, and more, which is great for the local economy.”
Produced by Pilot Media, ‘Seven Days’ casts include famous and multi-awarded Chinese actors Jerry Lee, Wang Qianyuan and OraphanSaithong. They also flew in Hollywood actors to join in the production – Michael Pare, who starred in Eddie and the Cruisers and more recently acted in the popular Fox TV show House; Kristina Denton; Sam Hayden Smith; John Henry Richardson; and Oliver Gruner.
‘Seven Days’ is adapted from Decode, a novel written by an American Chinese writer Sun Kangqing.
Pilot Media is considered one of the most influential film and television companies in China. Its classic works include Moment in Peking, Love Story in Shanghai, The Bronze Teeth, and The Legend of Wu Meiniang.
Its recent production ‘General and I’, a TV series in 2017, was ranked among Top 10 TV series in terms of annual audience rating.