By James Lo, The China Post

Are New Taipei residents set to bump into Ken Watanabe in a Linkou convenience store? Could you end up sharing a carriage on the Airport MRT with Uma Thurman?

The New Taipei City government is striving to make such fantasies a reality, with plans for an ambitious “Film and Entertainment Belt” that it hopes can attract Hollywood’s finest to shoot in Taiwan.

Professionals from Japan and Korea joined local entertainment experts on Wednesday at a symposium on the project, which includes the under-development Linkou Studio City. The city government said it hoped the new studio city would be able to house the best local filmmakers, producers, broadcasters and distributors under one roof. The site would also serve as a hub for new media and other experimental platforms, such as internet video streaming and web content developers, the city government’s economic development department said. The panel also brainstormed on how to better utilize the convenience provided by the new Taoyuan Airport MRT, with suggestions including creating entertainment-related businesses that would attract local and foreign celebrity hunters. Chang Chi-chiang (張其強), director of the city government’s department of information, said that the new MRT line would allow for the creation of a “New Taipei Film and Entertainment Belt,” by connecting the studio city in Linkou with the Taiwan Movie Culture Park being built in New Taipei’s Xinzhuang District. Chang also said both film-themed areas would be seeking investors, with the Linkou Studio City starting in October.

Business premises in the area would have to be related to entertainment, to provide consumers to film districts with a well-rounded experience, Chang said. New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu (朱立倫) told the symposium that the city was a “very good place for domestic and international filmmakers,” given its abundance of natural scenery and talented individuals.

Chu pointed to internationally famed director Martin Scorsese and his film “Silence,” saying the feature had showcased New Taipei’s beautiful landscapes and that the shooting of the film in Taiwan had been made possible thanks to the support provided by the New Taipei Film Assist & Development Center (新北市協拍中心).