The battle between the Golden Horse Awards (金馬獎華語影片競賽) and the Asia-Pacific Film Festival (APFF) over which will be the most star-studded event is intensifying as the award ceremonies approach. For the moment, the Golden Horse seems to have fallen behind in the celebrity stakes: its most recent setback has been the defection of Yang Kui-mei (楊貴媚).
A member of the Golden Horse Film Festival Committee, Yang claimed she would not attend the Golden Horse Awards and would embrace the APFF instead. The former Golden Horse queen is apparently furious that she wasn't nominated for the best actress award at Taiwan's premiere movie event.
Is this pettiness? Maybe. As for members of the Golden Horse Festival committee, they reportedly can't understand the betrayal.
National treasure Ang Lee (李安), however, showed off his diplomatic skills by declining invitations from both events, saying that he was both mentally and physically spent, and that his latest film project Lust, Caution (色戒) is far behind schedule.
According to gossip observers writing in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times' sister paper), Lee is paying for his bold decision to work with a group of young and inexperienced actors such as ABT pop idol Wang Lee-hom (王力宏) and Ke Yu-lun (柯宇綸), who have so far failed to live up to the director's high expectations and need extra training in order to give presentable performances.
While Lee's mission to elevate local actors onto the world stage seems to have become an obstacle to his film, local pop diva A-mei (阿妹) is successfully continuing her quest to promote her tribe's culture. The Puyuma celebrity has recently purchased 10,000 ping (approximately 3,300m2) of land worth NT$30 million in Taitung after last year buying 6,000 ping of land for traditional Aboriginal ceremonies and gatherings.
The land is reportedly earmarked for an Aboriginal dreamland where an art village will be built for young Aborigines to learn music and dance. Playing down her ambitious project, A-mei said the land is just for her mom, who likes to farm, which makes no sense, as the huge area would be difficult to cultivate.
A-mei's gesture of generosity, however, may put her in debt. According to gossip insiders, the diva has an overdraft of nearly NT$50 million that was used to cover her expenses over the past two years. At the same time, she has turned down lucrative TV commercials, endorsements and concerts to make time for studying in the US, public service activities and the musical Carmen, which is slated to take to the stage at Taipei Arena (台北巨蛋) by the end of the year.
The rumored romance between Shu Qi (舒淇) and Chang Chen (張震) that budded during the shooting of Three Times (最好的時光) last year is back on the front pages of the gossip rags as the two have paired up for Blood Brothers (天堂口), a film produced by John Woo (吳宇森), and are said to often sneak out for secret trysts after a hard day's work.
If what maybe a publicity stunt transforms into a genuine love story, the two would be coming together again after a number of detours: Earlier this year Shu was spotted touring Tokyo with playboy Wang Lee-hom while Chang openly displayed his admiration for his co-star Hong Kong's Karena Lan (林嘉欣) in Silk (詭絲).