‘Parasite' and five other titles that shot in and around Jeonju

The city and surrounding area has provided locations for ‘Okja’, Netflix series ‘Sense8’ and more.

By Jean Noh 28 Apr 2022

‘Parasite' and five other titles that shot in and around Jeonju
Filming Parasite. Credit: Jeonju Film Commission

The city of Jeonju, in the southwest of the Republic of Korea, has established a reputation for traditional culture, superb cuisine and an international film festival. But is it also increasingly becoming known as a location to shoot films and TV series.

Just ask Korean director Bong Joon Ho, who shot the majority of the Oscar-winning Parasite there as well as scenes for his fantasy thriller Okja.

With the Korean Film Council’s 25% locations incentive, which can be mix-and-matched with the region’s in-kind support and discounts, Jeonju in Jeollabuk-do province might be the best kept secret that foreign productions might want to know about. Here are four films and two series that shot on location in and around there.

Parasite (2019)
Dir. Bong Joon Ho

Starring Song Kang-ho with a highly lauded ensemble cast, the tragicomedy about a poor family that inveigles its way into a rich family’s home and life filmed 60% of their 77 shooting days in Jeonju and in its environs. Jeonju Cinema Studio, with its 56,899㎡ of land, housed the rich family’s architecturally advanced home as well as its manicured garden with upscale foliage where the climactic birthday party takes place. The production also shot the PC room scene, where the poor family’s brother and sister forge a university document, at an actual PC room in Jeonju and the scene where the housekeeper goes to the hospital for her peach allergy was shot in Wonkwang University Hospital in nearby Iksan.

Okja (2017)
Dir. Bong Joon Ho

One of Netflix’s original features that made it to Cannes Competition, Bong’s fantasy adventure thriller starring child actress Ahn Seo-hyun alongside Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano and Stephen Yeun also shot some nature scenes near Jeonju. The wooded valley scenes where young protagonist Mija spends happy times with her best friend, the genetically engineered creature Okja, were shot in the Dosolcheon area of Seonunsa Temple in Gochang-gun, Jeollabuk-do, about a 90-minute drive from Jeonju.

Beyond The Years (2007)
Dir. Im Kwon-taek

Eminent director Im’s 100th film, starring Oh Jung-hae in the unofficial sequel to his hit Seopyeonje, also shot scenes in Jeonju – a favoured city of the director. Damun, a restaurant in Jeonju’s famous Hanok Village which preserves traditional architecture, hosted the scenes for the inn at which the pansori (musical storytelling performed by a singer and a drummer) troupe stays. Beyond The Years screened at Venice, Toronto, Karlovy Vary and several other film festivals.

The Wailing (2016)
Dir. Na Hong-jin

This supernatural horror thriller has been terrifying audiences around the world since its international premiere at Cannes, where it played out of competition. Starring Kwak Do-won, Hwang Jung-min, Chun Woo-hee and Jun Kunimura, the film follows a policeman trying to save his daughter as he investigates a series of mysterious deaths and illnesses after an elderly stranger arrives in their remote village of Goksung. The scene where the shaman Il-gwang first appears, driving through a winding mountain road, the chase scene between the policeman and the mysterious old stranger in the mountains and next to a cliff and the cathedral scene were all shot in Jeollabuk-do.

Sense8 (2015-18)
Dir. Lilly Wachowski, Lana Wachowski et al.

The Wachowskis shot the Cheongju Women’s Correctional Institution scenes with Doona Bae and now Oscar-winner Yuh-jung Youn on the prison set in Iksan, Jeollabuk-do for the Netflix sci-fi drama series with a multinational ensemble cast that included Aml Ameen, Jamie Clayton and Tina Desai as strangers scattered around the world who discover they are “sensates” – human beings who telepathically linked to each other.

Kingdom & Kingdom: Ashin Of The North (2019-21)
Dir. Kim Seong-hun, Park Inje

Netflix’s hit period horror thriller series sees a zombie epidemic spreading as political intrigue unfolds around a threatened throne. Starring Ju Ji-hoon, Doona Bae, Ryu Seung-ryong and Jun Ji-hyun the production shot palace and village scenes as well as the Pajeowi tribe riding horses in the wilds and Ashin in a field of reeds in Buan, Jeollabuk-do.

This article originally appeared on sister site, ScreenDaily. 

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