Hong Kong filmmakers warned to ‘think twice’ before attending Taiwan film awards


HK Films Self-Censor Amid Concerns About CCP Retaliation, Loss of Mainland Funding —————————

Films are now heavily censored in Hong Kong before any screening in the city. All films classified as inciting or provoking others to rebel or oppose the government will be banned.

Recently, the Hong Kong Motion Picture Industry Association (MPIA) urged its members to think twice before entering the Taiwan Golden Horse Awards. MPIA says the Golden Horse Awards have become increasingly politicized in recent years. Many people at the awards show repeatedly confused politics with movies.

Film critics comment that a banned Hong Kong film that won awards at the 2021 ceremony has upset the CCP. However, critics believe that even if MPIA did not mention it, most Hong Kong filmmakers would not dare to participate in the Golden Horse Awards because they fear retaliation and self-censorship from the CCP.

The 59th Golden Horse Awards will take place on November 19.

MPIA sent a letter to its members on September 13, notifying them to attend the Taiwan Film Awards.

MPIA claimed that the Taipei Golden Horse Awards have become increasingly politicized recently, and members who wish to participate should think twice before participating. Otherwise, they might get involved in conflicts and lose what they have.

Established in 1986, MPIA currently has approximately 204 members, including film production and distribution companies. The association also has individual members who are filmmakers, directors, screenwriters, film critics and producers.

MPIA claims that films produced and distributed by its members occupy more than 85% of the local market.

He said the members had organized four “Hong Kong Film Industry Rep. Group Visiting Beijing” since 1992 to reflect on the plight of the industry in the Beijing government and fight for market opening.

The 18th Board of Directors of MPIA, Honorable Chairman, is Charles Heung Wah-keung, Representative of Shaw Brother Pictures International Ltd and Deputy Managing Director of TVB, Virginia Lok Yik-ling.

Chinese Communist Party (CPC) Legislative Assembly members Peter Lam Kin-ngok and Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, sons of Henry Fok Ying-tung, former Vice Chairman of the CPC Legislative Assembly from 1993 to 2006 , are also “part of the club”.

At the 58th Taipei Golden Horse ceremony, the film Revolution of Our Times, banned in Hong Kong, received the award for best documentary film.

When the presenter announced the winner, the audience cheered for more than ten seconds. Some people shouted, “Hong Kong, add oil!”

Taiwanese actor and Best Leading Actor winner Chen Shiang-chyi was a bit choked when announcing the absence of the film crew. Chow Kwun-wai, director of Revolution of Our Times, delivered his acceptance speech in a pre-recorded video.

The Golden Horse Film Awards had a tough time with the CCP. Beijing previously banned the Golden Horse Film Awards in 2018, but the CCP later relaxed the ban.

The ban stems from a speech given by several directors, including internationally acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yi-Mou.

Zhang said during the best new director award, “Seeing so much work from young directors represents hope in Chinese films.”

A comment by Fu Yu, the top documentary filmmaker at the time, also shook the CCP’s nerves. “I hope that my country, Taiwan (instead of China Taiwan), will be truly treated as an individual country, it is my greatest wish to be Taiwanese.”

The Chinese actress refused to share the stage with Taiwanese

Taiwanese director and Oscar winner Ang Lee was due to present an award with Chinese actress Gong Li. However, the Mulan actress made a contentious move and refused to take the stage.

Ang Lee won Best Foreign Language Film for Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Best Direction for Life of Pi.

The CCP fought back

CCP officials not only decided to hold China’s 2019 Golden Rooster Awards at the same time as the 56th Golden Horse Awards in August 2019, but Beijing also banned all Chinese filmmakers from attending Taiwan’s award ceremony. Awards.

The news shocked the Chinese film industry as Beijing forcefully shut down cultural exchange due to geopolitics.

Filmmakers from Hong Kong and China had to remain silent and avoid. And for the next two years, they couldn’t attend the Taiwanese event.

At the Golden Horse Awards in the same year (2019), Hong Kong director Johnny To Ki-feng was originally the president of the jury. Yet he had to resign, citing his contracts with film investors. In the same year, many Hong Kong films also canceled their registration.

When the tension finally subsided

The tension finally eased in 2020. The CCP decided to stop the Golden Rooster Awards and the Taipei Golden Horse Award from colliding.

The film industry believes that it is because of the pandemic that China had to stop its explosive confrontation against Taiwan.

But that did not reassure Chinese and Hong Kong filmmakers.

Consequently, only a few films made it to the nomination round.

In 2021, of the 573 films that participated in the Golden Horse Film Awards, more than 200 came from China and Hong Kong.

Hong Kong politician Ben Lam Siu-pan said the Golden Horse Film Awards were never political. “The awards ceremony itself is a place for free speech and diverse voices.”

Lam argued that if it got political, it would only be through the CCP. He stressed that Beijing wanted to silence the growing voices of “Taiwan independence”.

Simultaneously, the regime also wanted to warn Taiwanese artists to shut up. Otherwise, their movies wouldn’t reach any big screens in mainland China.

Hong Kong filmmakers censor themselves

Lam guessed that MPIA may have received orders from the Hong Kong and Macau Liaison Office and Macau, Hong Kong, or directly from the CCP. The organization had to send a letter to “prove its loyalty” to the regime.

Lam also says no one would attend the Taiwanese Awards because Hong Kong films are too dependent on funding from mainland Chinese investors.

Lam pointed out that the 2018 Golden Horse Awards had a huge impact on Hong Kong films. “Last year, there were more independent films than big budget films or co-produced films.”

Due to self-censorship, Lam expects Hong Kong films to gradually disappear from the Taipei Golden Horse Awards. “There are too many ways for the CCP to retaliate. Hong Kong filmmakers fear that the governments of Hong Kong and Beijing will ban their films in Hong Kong or China, which affects investment in mainland China.



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