The government should not let the nation’s cultural development be influenced by profit-driven investors, local artists said at a national forum in Taipei on Thursday.
“I hope we can clarify what ‘culture’ is, so that economic benefits and profit issues will not influence cultural work,” film director Wang Shau-di (王小棣) said at the forum to seek a consensus on the nation’s cultural policy.
The investment of venture-capital firms in the cultural and creative sector is still done in a “rough” way and companies are unable to find good investment targets in the sector because of a lack of dialogue and understanding, she said.
For example, many venture capitalists are unaware that Taiwan’s talent-filled theater business offers a good opportunity to tap into the ethnic Chinese market as more people are watching live performances these days, she said.
Hung Hung (鴻鴻), a theater director and one of the initiators of a signature campaign to push for a cultural policy reform, said cultural and creative industry affairs should be handled by the Ministry of Economic Affairs instead of the Ministry of Culture.
The Ministry of Culture should not be spending its energy helping venture-capital firms while artists are finding it hard to make ends meet, he said.
Minister of Culture Lung Ying-tai (龍應台) disagreed, saying the same problems could arise if a different ministry handled such affairs.
Speaking on behalf of investors, industry representatives said they cared more about the government’s policy and strategies for the cultural and creative industry than its funding.
Artists and a legislator also questioned the Ministry of Culture about its NT$10 billion (US$334 million) investment project to promote cultural and creative industries, saying that it dwarfs the subsidies provided to the art sector.
Vivian Lien (連玉蘋), head of the ministry’s Department of Cultural and Creative Development, said the project was funded by the National Development Fund for investment purposes and it could not be used as a subsidy.
Eight other national forums will be held over the next two months to discuss topics such as the future of public media, film subsidy policies and ways to build an international network for the film, television and music industries.