Taiwan film industry calls for subsidy changes

Taiwan film industry representatives called July 12 for adjustments to the ROC government’s subsidy program to make more efficient use of limited resources.

Speaking at a national forum on the movie sector, Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai concurred with this broad sentiment, noting that the program’s annual budget of NT$140 million (US$4.67 million) is clearly insufficient and that alternative approaches are required.

Lung said the Ministry of Culture would work to integrate the resources and strengths of the public and private sectors to make Taiwan films an important part of the nation’s cultural power.

“Four major directions will be pursued on this front—increasing the appreciation of films among the general population, cultivating local filmmaking talent, developing industry access and channels, and marketing Taiwan movies internationally,” she explained.

With the central government’s budget to be cut by 10 percent next year, the MOC definitely needs to introduce an open source approach to more efficiently nurture the development of the domestic film industry, she said.

Implementing investment tax credits and bringing cultural and creative industry players together with venture capitalists are possible directions in this regard, according to Lung.

The MOC Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development noted that the local film sector has thrived over the past three years. In 2011, investment was made in 55 domestic films, with an average of NT$20 million per movie. The innovation and animation techniques of Taiwan’s films are gradually receiving more widespread international recognition, clearly illustrating the effectiveness of the subsidy program, which was launched in 1990, the bureau said.

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An additional subsidy was introduced in 2009 during a low point for the industry, under which domestic films taking in more than NT$10 million in box office receipts in Taipei City are provided with an additional 20 percent of the film’s total ticket sales.

Film producer Lee Lieh said that because the program’s budget is so limited, the ministry should consider scrapping this second subsidy to make more funds available for nurturing the sector’s development in other areas.

On the open source approach, Chen Hung-yuan, director of Double Edge Entertainment, raised the example of the U.K.’s program of using a portion of the revenue from lottery sales to assist the local film sector and cultivate audiences.

Taiwan Today

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