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May 26, 2017

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Kuan lonely in Golden Horse crusade

By Enru Lin--Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang distanced himself yesterday from Kuan Bi-ling, a party lawmaker who called to scrap the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.

After domestic films fared badly at the weekend film gala, Kuan released a statement urging Taiwan's film industry to phase out the festival and to "position itself globally."

"The way the industry is currently focusing on the Chinese-language market means it relies on China's film policies. There's little scope for the industry to expand," according to the statement.

At the DPP party headquarters yesterday, reporters asked Su whether Taiwan's disappointing performance warrants the end of the Golden Horse Awards. The chairman publicly distanced himself from Kuan's proposal.

"We do not need to shut down the Golden Horse Festival. We do not need to politicize the festival and turn it into a political confrontation," said Su.

Instead, Taiwan's poor showing ought to galvanize self-reflection and more committed investment. "We need to give the film industry real support, encouragement and incentives," he said.

Su said that he knows many people in Taiwan's film industry, including members of his family.

"Filmmaking is extremely difficult. Even with vast financial and human resources, it's not always possible to see results in the short-term," he said.

In recent years, "everyone has been trying to promote the film industry," said Su. "We hope the day will come when Taiwan films are very strong.

Kuan Holds On

Since Sunday, Kuan's proposal has won few friends and made many enemies in Taiwan's film industry, including actress Ann Lang (郎祖筠) and director Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢). Local producer Lee Lieh (李烈) ridiculed Kuan, saying that by the same logic, the Taipei Marathon should be culled as its top runners are rarely Taiwan nationals.

But Kuan stuck to her call yesterday.

"I am a cultural worker who entered politics," said Kuan, citing her pre-lawmaking career in Kaohsiung's cultural affairs department and in promoting the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival.

"When it comes to the future of Taiwan's film industry, I have a strong sense of purpose and some points of insistence," she said.

Kuan said she has always believed that the existing format of the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival is unsuitable to providing necessary conditions for the industry's healthy growth. The government has poured cash into the festival for nearly 50 years, and it is high time for an upgraded vision.

"The DPP does not back my proposal. Those who are criticizing the DPP have wronged the party," she said.

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