Study tripDublin & Belfast

Film Pride: How Northern Ireland and Singapore Handles Fame

When a Hollywood blockbuster is slated to film at a particular country, it will be the talk of the town. The local news will probably feature this proudly and the citizens will gladly spread the word to their network on social media. Once the filming has wrapped, the particular filming location will probably turn into a tourist destination, where the locals can exclaim with joy that a particular film or television series has been filmed at this exact location. This was the case when I visited Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Ouarzazate in Morocco, Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, and most recently, Northern Ireland. 

How Game of Thrones Impacted Belfast’s Visibility
When you talk about Game of Thrones, people immediately think of Northern Ireland. This is no surprise as the majority of the popular television series was filmed in Northern Ireland. Game of Thrones is a fantasy drama television series, created by David Benioff and Daniel Brett Weiss, won 47 Primetime Emmy Awards, and has (rightfully) gained a cult following. Given that the popular television series was mostly filmed in Northern Ireland, it is without a doubt that fans flock to the filming locations to reenact some of the most popular Game of Thrones’ scenes. Not only was Game of Thrones filmed in Northern Ireland, popular films such as Mission: Impossible – Fallout and the Lost City of Z were also filmed there. 

The Northern Irish are extremely proud of this, and they should be

Being a very popular location for filming, the Northern Ireland Tourism Board has used this as one of their many ways to encourage tourists to visit Northern Ireland. The Northern Irish are extremely proud of this, and they should be. This can be seen from glass mosaics of famous Game of Thrones scenes found in front of the City Hall and near the Titanic Museum, to a plethora of Game of Thrones tours hosted by several tour agencies to allow tourists to live and bask in their Game of Thrones fantasy. 

When I was in Belfast, there was even a Game of Thrones exhibition going on and my tour guide was extremely proud of the fact that Game of Thrones was filmed in Northern Ireland. It seems that everywhere I went and everyone I met were very honoured that their home was a film set of such a popular television series. 

Lack of Such ‘Film Pride’ in Singapore
On the other side of the world, in Singapore, the people do not seem to extend the same pride as the Northern Irish. Singapore, like Northern Ireland, is also home to many popular filming locations, with the most popular being Crazy Rich Asians. Crazy Rich Asians is the first film by a major Hollywood studio in 25 years to feature a majority Asian cast, which sparked a lot of interest and delight, especially among the Asian American society. The film went on to garner USD 238.5 million in the box office and snagged six awards. Singapore is also the filming location of popular Hollywood blockbusters Independence Day: Resurgence and Hitman: Agent 47

However, unlike Northern Ireland, it seems that Singaporeans do not display such pride. There are no tours being held to show tourists the famous filming locations, no exhibitions ongoing to showcase the film, despite it making history and headlines. Many Singaporeans that I have communicated with did not demonstrate the same sense of joy that the Northern Irish do. However, similar to Northern Ireland, the Singapore Tourism Board did take advantage of the opportunity and partnered with the production studio of Crazy Rich Asians, which indicates that the government did want to leverage on the film to attract tourists to visit the city-state. 

Reasons Why Both Countries React so Differently
While comparing the stark contrast between Northern Ireland and Singapore, one reason for such a difference could be that Game of Thrones ran for many years, thus creating a deeper impact in popular culture than Crazy Rich Asians. Another reason could simply be attributed to cultural reasons. Asians tend to be a bit more reserved and humble whereas Europeans have the tendency to be more proud of their achievements.

While the Northern Irish basks and embrace in their glory, Singaporeans tend to have a more conservative and humble approach to fame

Whatever the reason may be, it is really interesting to compare the differences between each country and how they ‘handle’ their fame. While the Northern Irish basks and embrace in their glory, Singaporeans tend to have a more conservative and humble approach to fame. Either way, both countries have played a pivotal role in many popular television series and films and will continue to do so in the years to come.

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Angela Low
Angela was born in Vietnam, raised in Singapore, lived in Cambodia, and is now dedicating her next few years of her life in the Netherlands. After three crazy years studying at a media-focused high school, she decided to continue studying communication again at the UvA, which she enjoys greatly. She is also now the secretary of Mercurius, and the coordinator of Medium Magazine and the Promotion Committee. If she has the luxury of time, she can be found binge-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine or devouring her favourite Dutch desserts.

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