'Monga' success inspires film commission exec

PUSAN — The Taiwanese biz is in the throes of a revival and is keen to build on its successes with more government investment in the biz, a senior local exec said Tuesday.

“It’s not just Hollywood films winning audiences, more and more Taiwanese films are making that leap,” Jennifer Jao, director of the Taipei Film Commission, said in an interview at the Pusan Film Festival.

Niu Cheng-tse’s recent Taipei gangland hit “Monga,” which will represent Taiwan in the foreign-language film category at the Oscars, grossed NTD200 million ($6.25 million) B.O. at home.

This followed the success of another Taiwanese hit, Wei Te-shen’s ‘Cape No. 7,’ which took more than $20 million in box office.

“We plan to fund another attractive story in Taipei to duplicate the success of ‘Monga,’ ” Jao said.

This year there will be up to 45 movies made in Taiwan, compared with just 12 in 2006.

Taiwan also has a ready market for its films in the Mainland as Mandarin Chinese is spoken on both sides of the Strait of Taiwan.

However, Taiwanese pics sometimes fall foul of the censors, including “Monga.” Its graphic violence and gangster subject matter meant it did not get a release on the Mainland. It had also sought Mainland co-production status, but failed to get script approval.

The Mainland is also an important source of funding, especially for big-budget movies, said Jao, and she anticipates more and more co-productions.

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