1940s Boston found in regional Victoria

The regional Victorian towns of Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong are doubling for historic Boston in new feature film Road to Boston.

The Victorian towns of Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong are doubling for historic Boston in feature film Road to Boston, due to the striking similarity of the regional towns’ period streetscapes to the US city in the 1940s.

The first Korean feature to film in Victoria, Road to Boston tells the story of 1947 Boston Marathon winner Suh Yun-bok, the first Korean to win an international sporting event following his nation's independence from Japan in 1945.

On set in Ballarat, 150 local extras stepped in as marathon runners and bystanders, joining the cast and over 130 crew to film scenes on the regional city's iconic Lydiard Street, which was dressed with US-style rosettes, bunting and polished vintage cars.

Film Victoria Head of Marketing & Screen Production Attraction Kirsten Badcock and Manager, Production Attraction and Support Joe Brinkmann were on set with Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle and producers John Hipwell and Kevin Piel do Jun as the largescale production took over the city centre as part of its five-day Ballarat shoot.

Road to Boston is spending three weeks filming the climactic marathon scenes in Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong, all of which are located between an hour and two hours’ drive of Melbourne.

Over seven weeks of pre-production and filming, it is expected that Road to Boston will employ 885 regional Victorians and spend $1.6 million during its regional shoot and $4.1 million in total in Victoria.

To bring this inspiring true story to the big screen, the filmmakers were looking for period streetscapes that could stand in for Boston in the 1940s, as the American city itself is now very built up. While scouting regional Victoria last year, they were instantly impressed by the well-maintained period architecture in the three towns and knew they had found the key locations they needed.

Starring popular South Korean actor Ha Jung-woo, Road to Boston is the latest feature from director Je-Kyu Kang, the first director to hit over 10 million ticket sales in Korea. His 2005 film Tae Guk Gi generated over $70m at the international box office.

Suh's win in two hours, 25 minutes and 39 seconds, was the world's fastest marathon time since his coach Sohn Kee-chung became the first to run a marathon in under two and a half hours. Sohn became the first Korean to win an Olympic medal in the 1936 Berlin Games but he did so representing Japan under a Japanese version of his name, Son Kitei.

Road to Boston will be released on more than 1,000 screens in Korea, showcasing Victorian talent and regional locations to audiences across the country.

Film Victoria assisted Road to Boston with location and production services, and supported the film through its Regional Location Assistance Fund and Production Incentive Attraction Fund.