Taiwan Revises Quota Rules to Bring in More Award Winners From Mainland China

Festival, Oscar and Golden Horse Awards winners can now apply to avoid the lottery system for choosing films

Taiwan has revised its film quota rules to increase the number of movies from mainland China from 10 to allow more award-winning Chinese films into the cinemas on the self-ruled island.

If a movie wins at a film festival, such as Cannes or Berlin, or wins an Oscar or Taiwan's Golden Horse award, then it can apply directly for distribution, and does not have to go through the current process, where lots are drawn for mainland films.

Taiwan has a population of around 23 million, and while it is dwarfed by Mainland China's 1.3 billion people, it still is a sizeable market for Chinese-language movies.

Taiwan has been self-ruled since Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalists lost the Chinese civil war with Chairman Mao Zedong’s Communists and fled across the strait of Taiwan in 1949.

Although both Mainland China and Taiwan speak Mandarin Chinese, and actors and directors from Taiwan have been very successful in the People's Republic of China, the two are bitter rivals.

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China considers Taiwan a renegade province, and while relations have become closer in recent years under the presidency of Ma Ying-jeou, political tensions remain strong especially on matters of culture.

As it stands, the 10 quota films from the People's Republic of China are chosen by lottery.

This process angers some who wonder why Hollywood movies get in unrestricted. It also leads to unusual choices — this year many secondary Chinese films were chosen, but bigger films like Zhang Yimou's Coming Home and Ann Hui's Golden Era failed to make the cut.

At the American Film Market, Taiwan said it will introduce $2.5 million in grants from the start of next year to encourage international movie co-productions to come to the self-ruled island and to help with promotion.

Twitter: @cliffordcoonan