Central Motion Picture Corp (CMPC) on Tuesday agreed to hand over NT$950 million (US$34.02 million) and 330 films to the government, marking the first time that an ill-gotten party assets dispute has been resolved with an administrative settlement.
According to the terms of the agreement with the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, the total represents the amount CMPC was undervalued when it was in 2006 sold by Central Investment Co — an affiliate of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).
The amount must be paid within 60 days into a designated account at the central bank, the settlement said.
Photo: Liberty Times file photo
In addition, the copyrights and ownership of all film assets held by CMPC before April 27, 2006, must be transferred to the state, it said.
Once CMPC has fulfilled these two conditions, the committee would revoke its 2018 designation of the firm as a KMT affiliate and unfreeze its assets, it said.
However, the committee retains the right to continue investigating the firm’s records from when the KMT was a stakeholder, it said.
The litigation between the firm and the committee would be terminated when CMPC returns its assets or withdraws a lawsuit regarding the case, the settlement said.
As the firm does not have enough cash to fulfill the settlement, it is planning to rent out its remaining assets, a committee member said.
The settlement is the first time a dispute over ill-gotten party assets has been resolved through an administrative contract since the Act Governing the Settlement of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例) was passed in 2016.
CMPC said that the settlement ensures the protection of the rights and interests of the state, as well as the rights and interests of the firm, and its shareholders and creditors.
The negotiations took into account that nearly none of the firm’s shareholders are affiliated with the KMT or were involved in the 2006 deal, CMPC said, adding that it agreed to the settlement to end the dispute as soon as possible and avoid any further effects on its business or finances.
As for the content of the settlement, the firm said that it has “no regrets” and looks forward to passing on film culture and ushering in a new era of movies.
CMPC said that it has invested in digitally restoring its films, hopefully making a contribution to the nation’s film and television culture.
Among the 330 films that would become part of the public domain are popular classics, including early films by directors Ang Lee (李安) and Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), that were part of the 2006 deal.
Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co (正崴) chairman Gou Tai-chiang (郭台強), who acquired the titles, loaned them to the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute for preservation while retaining all property rights.
Included are Pushing Hands (推手), The Wedding Banquet (囍宴) and Eat Drink Man Woman (飲食男女) by Lee, and The Sandwich Man (兒子的大玩偶) and A Time to Live and A Time to Die (童年往事) by Hou.
Among the films are also Tsai Ming-liang’s (蔡明亮) Vive L’Amour (愛情萬歲), Edward Yang’s (楊德昌) A Brighter Summer Day (牯嶺街少年殺人事件) and the anti-communist propaganda movies Everlasting Glory (英烈千秋) and 800 Heroes (八百壯士).
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