Since the 2001-2003 "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and 2003's "Last Samurai" starring Tom Cruise became international hits, New Zealand has gradually been drawing Japanese filmmakers' attention as a desirable shooting location.

The Japanese movie "Dororo," based on comic books by the late Osamu Tezuka set in 15th- to 17th-century feudal Japan, was filmed in a wilderness area on New Zealand's South Island. Released in January, the movie appears to have built up interest among Japanese producers.

At the Cannes Film Festival this year, 10 Japanese movie producers met with representatives of New Zealand production firms to discuss the possibility of shooting in New Zealand.