On December 4th, the Hong Kong Film Development Council headed by Wellington Fung led seven new up and coming directors from Hong Kong to Taiwan for cultural exchange under the new heading “New Action.” The initiative showcases the current Hong Kong film directors.
This was the first step in introducing the South-East Asian market and China the new talent of Hong Kong, distinguishing itself from Hong Kong’s past directors. A glossy and impressive catalog was printed to showcase the directors like myself, Pang Ho-Cheung, Barbara Wong, Vincent Chui, etc.
We met with Vanessa Shih, the Minister for the Taiwan Government Information Office, who oversees all matters related to films in Taiwan. She told us many encouraging things like she started a program that if a Taiwanese film’s box office reaches NT$50 million, then the GIO office would reward them with 20% of their box office as policy to encourage filmmakers to make films that will attract audiences. This was back in August when the local Taiwanese hit film Cape No.7 started to gain attention in the market.
The box office forCape No.7 is expected to reach NT$500 million when the film finishes its run. So the Taiwan government will have to dole out NT$100 million to that director. The $100 million awarded is not for his own financial gain but the money has to go towards the financing of his next film. We think the Hong Kong Film Development Council should consider a similar scheme.
Front row: Mr. Wong Pak Ming, Mr. Wong Nguk Chung, Ms. Mabel Cheung (Director); Back row: Brian Chung, Chung Kai Cheung (Director), Kenneth Bi and Vincent Chui (Director)
The Hong Kong Film Development Council hosted a luncheon with Taiwanese
producers, directors and distributors. Each director from Hong Kong sat
with an experienced Hong Kong industry professional. Nansan Shi (Tsui Hark’s
wife) and I hosted our table and got to know the Taiwanese directors
and distributors like Zero Chou, Atom Cinema’s Liu Wei-jan…
Distributors and industry professionals in Taiwan attend the luncheon. Ang Lee's brother, Lee Kang, sits in front of the poster.
Kenneth Bi, Pang Ho Cheung and Vincent Chui share some stories about our Taiwan experience.
Nansun Shi (Tsui Hark's wife) shares her stories about shipping the film prints of Tsui Hark’s new film All About Women from Thailand to Hong Kong and China for the premieres. Thailand's Bangkok airport had been underseige by anti-govemment protestors a week earlier. Even though the airport was opened by then, there was a backlog of travelers trying to leave. So she had to find ingenious routes to get the prints out via train, ship and then finally plane out of Thailand.
While the whole delegation took the bus down to the Golden Horse Awards in Taichung, I stayed in Taipei. I visited U Theatre who happened to be rehearsing for a show the next day.
Their mountain had been under renovation when we were filming The Drummer. Their new structures were finally finished with a new pavilion which is two storey high…
...a new stage with new lighting rigs and sound system…
...and six levels of audience seats up the mountain slope.
U Theatre has grown into a huge organization with young students and junior members. When I was up at the mountain, there were about 60 people there. Some performers, some behind the scenes people.
One great note is that the dog we acquired for the filming of The Drummer, XiaoHuang, now lives on U Theatre’s mountain. If you watch carefully XiaoHuang appears a few times in the film. He’s bigger now and roams the U Theatre mountain happily.