Are Woody Allen Movies The New Trip Planner?

Think movies are just a way to enjoy a night in with friends? Apparently, not. According to tourism boards in European cities that have been featured in Woody Allen films – such as “Match Point,” “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” “Midnight in Paris,” and “To Rome With Love” – these films have boosted travel to these destinations. In fact, Adrian Wootton, the CEO of FilmLondon, says studies have shown 1 in 10 visitors to the United Kingdom come because of movies they’ve seen. This type of tourism generates about 2 billion pounds per year.

Cities are catching on to the trend, and running with it. For example, FilmLondon, who has used footage, photos and quotes from Woody Allen’s London-based movies to help promote the city, partnered with VisitLondon to create a “Match Point” map for tourists.

“He loves to shoot in these iconic locations, and he often films them quite beautifully,” explains Wootton.

In fact, Allen shoots his films so wonderfully, tour companies have begun offering city tours allowing people to follow in the footsteps of the lead characters. For instance, Icono Serveis offers a “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” tour via their “Barcelona: The Movie Walking Tour,” while Paris Underbelly features a “Midnight in Paris” tour. According to the operators, these are their most popular tours, with clients often making plans to go to other cities to taken Wooden Allen movie-themed excursions.

Has a movie ever inspired you to take a trip?

[Image via Colin Swan]

Ingmar Bergman’s Sweden: Fårö Island

There was a political cartoon I came across of two people leaving the Simpson’s movie saying to each other “Who’s Ingmar Bergman.” The cartoon was prompted by the recent death of Ingmar Bergman, the prolific Swedish film director and the box-office success of The Simpson’s movie.

Bergman’s movies introduced me to Scandinavia–and deep thoughts, and later prompted my attraction to the college program I did at the University of Copenhagan in Denmark. (Okay, Denmark isn’t Sweden, but it’s close–just a ferry ride away.) Sometimes all it takes is a high school film class’s showing of the Seventh Seal to open up the world as a place worth exploring. I think this was the first movie I ever saw with subtitles. Being an avid film-goer, friends have called me Tom, one of the main characters in the Glass Menagerie, films have connected me to many places in the world. Some places I’ve been to–others I have not.

Hearing that he had died got me looking for places to see in Scandinavia with an Ingmar Bergman connection. One place you can go to is Fårö Island, the place where Bergman lived. Here’s a recent read “Sweden: The Director’s Cut” by Oliver Bennet who headed there on a pilgrammage to bask in the influences of Bergman’s world. There are wonderful descriptions and impressions that make me want to go here myself someday.

For a wonderful essay on Bergman’s influences, check out “Woody Allen Remembers.” Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman were long time friends. This photo is from Lifecruiser’s Fårö 2006 Summer set on Flickr. They’re all gorgeous. I had the hardest time picking one.

“Scenes from the City”: A Map That Pinpoints Movie Locations Around NYC

In 1966, New York City established the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting. This not only gave filmmakers unprecedented access to the world’s most exciting and vibrant city, it ensured gossip writers in the Big Apple would be forever employed.

To celebrate the anniversary of the MOFTB, the City launched a snazzy interactive map pinpointing locations that have served as backdrops over the years. Allowing users to filter by film, television, filmmaker, scene type, time period, and neighborhood, the map is a nifty way of planning a day in NYC. Want to hit all the locations around the City that Woody Allen has featured? Plan on making 11 stops. Interested in visiting all the locations used for movies set pre-1966? That’ll be 23 stops.

The only problem with the map is that, while it tells you where to go, it doesn’t give you the back story for the destinations. Does that make it useless? Fuhgeddaboutit. Pick up a copy of the photo-filled coffee table book that inspired the map and use the map as the basis for a totally kick-ass scavenger hunt.