ASIDE from being a popular site for wedding photography, Putrajaya is also a favourite filming site for many filmmakers.
If you look closely at some of the scenes in our local dramas, be it Malay, Chinese or Tamil, you will notice landmarks in Putrajaya such as the scenic bridges, modern architecture and futuristic lamp posts.
Local film Cicakman was shot in Putrajaya for the scenes of Metrofulus, a fictional city inspired by Batman’s Gotham City.
It is not just local filmmakers but also foreign ones who have chosen Putrajaya for their scenes.
About 80% of Hong Kong action drama Viral Factor shown in cinemas recently, was shot in Malaysia and some scenes were filmed in Putrajaya.
A temporary cafe was even erected near the Putrajaya Corporation building to facilitate a chasing scene.
Kpop fans will be thrilled to know that popular boy band Super Junior shot their music video for the song Dancing Out in Putrajaya.
Last year, of the 123 filming done in the city, 37 were commercials, 27 dramas, 13 films, nine documentaries and five photography shoots.
According to location coordinators who scout for filming locations, one of the main reasons for choosing to film in Putrajaya is because of its modern and stylish architecture.
Apparao, a local sponsor for foreign films in Hindi, Telegu, Tamil, Malayalam, and Kannada languages, said foreign filmmakers chose Putrajaya because of its modern location and beautiful parks.
He has also arranged locations for Chinese and local Tamil filmmakers.
“Having more foreign filmmakers shooting in Malaysia will bring more money to the country and help spur economy growth,” he said.
Apparao also hoped that Putrajaya Corporation (Ppj) could issue permits faster.
Ppj, entrusted with the functions of a local authority and local planning authority, administers and manages Putrajaya on behalf of the Federal Government.
“It takes seven days to obtain a permit to film in Putrajaya whereas it takes only a day in Kuala Lumpur. Red tape is also increasing as there are more regulations and more documents needed when applying for filming permits.
“Those in the film industry have a tendency to suddenly change their arrangements. For example, a foreign filmmaker may suddenly decide to shoot in Kuala Lumpur. The Indian film industry works very fast,” he said.
Production manager Andrew Oh, whose company scouted the location for Viral Factor, said it was easier to control traffic in Putrajaya.
“Those who want high-tech buildings, clean environment, less crowd and traffic will opt for Putrajaya.
“Those who want crowd scenes will film in Kuala Lumpur,” he said, adding that it is easy to obtain filming permits in Putrajaya.
Aside from movies, the intelligent city is also a popular destination for making commercials.
According to location coordinator for commercials Goh Wai Leong, Bangkok is the first choice followed by Malaysia.
“We have clients from India and we used to have clients from Dubai and Singapore who film their commercials here. If their budget permits, they would choose to shoot here instead of their own country. It is also cheaper to shoot in Malaysia.
“Putrajaya is the choice location if the client wants modern, stylish buildings as a backdrop,” he said.
Putrajaya Corporation senior deputy director (Public Relations) Zaharah Salamat said filming in the city started in 2001.
“Local productions make up 70% while 30% are international films or commercials.
“Filming in Putrajaya was at its peak six to seven years ago. There is slight decline after that as filmmakers and production companies prefer to shoot at new locations.
“We welcome filmmakers and advise them on traffic control. We sometimes provide enforcement officers but applicants must apply to the relevant agencies such as the police or Department of Civil Aviation (for helicopter scenes),” she said.
She added that the corporation did not generate much revenue from issuing filming permits.
It cost RM2,500 for a three-day permit for commercial purposes and RM250 for government film productions. Last year, RM105,150 was generated from issuing filming permits.
If the shooting is done in a public area, a deposit is required.
Any damage to public amenities will result in a deduction of the deposit.
“Filming here indirectly helps PPj and the Government to promote Putrajaya and Malaysia not only as an administration centre but also a tourist destination,” she said.
Just keep your eyes peeled the next time you visit Putrajaya. Who knows, you may just bump into your favourite Bollywood star or witness a filming scene.