From Franziska Donner-Rhee to 'The Sound of Music': Austria-South Korea Bond"

The enduring connection between Austria and South Korea, interwoven through the captivating story of Franziska Donner-Rhee and the timeless appeal of The Sound of Music, presents an intriguing tapestry of shared narratives and cultural resonance transcending geographical boundaries.

South Korea  Production Service  Films 

Korea  Filming in Austria 

Franziska, hailing from Vienna, met her future husband, Syngman Rhee, in the turbulent 1930s in Geneva, during an uncertain era for Korea's independence. Syngman Rhee's steadfast belief in the freedom of his homeland eventually steered him to the presidency, marking Franziska as the First Lady of Korea. Their tale of sacrifice and devotion continues to inspire to this day, particularly in South Korea, where Syngman Rhee is esteemed for his instrumental role in establishing a free and democratic nation.


From an outsider's perspective, and bearing in mind the intricate complexities of historical interpretation, it appears that Syngman Rhee's significant contributions to South Korea's independence are being recognized more deeply as time progresses. Without diminishing the intense struggles of that period or glossing over the complex nuances of his leadership, it seems fair to say that Syngman Rhee's resolute drive for Korean independence was a defining factor in the country's journey to sovereignty. His impact, viewed from the prism of present times, seems more profound, underlining the premise that without his efforts, the existence of South Korea as we know it today might have been different.


Mirroring this unique Austria-Korea connection, The Sound of Music, filmed in the picturesque settings of Austria, continues to be cherished by South Korean audiences. The enduring popularity of this film has sparked curiosity among South Korean filmmakers, nudging them to integrate the mesmerizing Austrian landscapes into their narratives.


Furthermore, with Austria's recent film production rebate model, which provides a 35% rebate on qualifying expenditures, the nation has positioned itself as an enticing location for international productions. This, paired with the enduring love story of Franziska Donner-Rhee and Syngman Rhee, opens up unique opportunities for collaborations between Austrian and South Korean film industries.

Austria's cultural icons, like Mozart, and the enchanting cities of Salzburg and Vienna continue to captivate global audiences, thereby increasing the potential for joint productions and film tourism between Austria and South Korea - making the prospects exhilarating.


At RitzlFilm, our deep-rooted interest in fostering this Austria-Korea relationship is driven by our 40-year industry experience and passion for transforming compelling narratives into reality. The publication of Franziska Donner-Rhee's biography is a testament to this commitment, representing our aspiration to bring her remarkable story to a broader audience, and potentially, to the silver screen.


In conclusion, the cultural bridge forged by The Sound of Music's popularity in South Korea, the beneficial film production rebate model in Austria, and the inspiring life of Franziska Donner-Rhee, create a rich backdrop for burgeoning collaborations between the Austrian and South Korean film industries. This partnership invites filmmakers to explore, create, and inspire, fostering a cultural exchange that extends far and wide.