Filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢) and movie producer Lee Lieh (李烈), two of the five people who received the Presidential Culture Awards from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday, called for government support to improve the movie industry.
The first two filmmakers ever to receive the nation’s top cultural award, Hou and Lee said the Government Information Office (GIO), which supervises the film industry, could learn from France on how to broaden the industry.
France imposes an 11 percent tax on all movie tickets to fund national film production, a system that if used in Taiwan would help more local films receive government grants, Hou said.
The GIO previously granted 20 percent of a film’s total revenue to any Taiwanese film that grossed more than NT$20 million (US$664,450), with the money intended to help the director and production company launch their next project.
However, Hou said Taiwanese films had done so well at the box office in recent years that the policy had exhausted the GIO’s budget and caused the agency to cap funding for any film at NT$50 million.
The French government’s broader-based system has helped boost France’s movie industry, with at least 200 movies being produced annually under this scheme, Hou said, while urging the president to consider adopting a similar system in Taiwan.
Movie producer Lee agreed, saying revenues from Taiwanese films accounted for 12 percent of Taiwan’s overall movie receipts last year — a 20-year high — indicating the rising popularity of local films.
Two other recipients of this year’s Presidential Culture Awards, granted every two years, were the Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation, which offers assistance to burn victims, and the Mustard Seed Mission, a Christian organization that cares for underprivileged people.
The Society for Wildlife and Nature was also honored for its dedication to public service.
They were presented with trophies and certificates and each received NT$1 million.
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