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Taiwan Film Institute Launched

HONG KONG – Taiwan this week unveiled the Taiwan Film Institute, a new center spanning film promotion, restoration and education.

It replaces the Chinese Taipei Film Archive and also absorbs the Taiwan International Documentary Festival, which is held every two years and lacks a consistent organizer.

Backed by the Ministry of Culture, the TFI will have an annual budget of NT$170 million (US$5.67 million), compared with less than NT$40 million (US$1.33 million) for the Chinese Taipei Film Archive and a further NT$23 million (US$768,000) per year for film restoration.

Board members include director Hou Hsiao-hsien, Wang Hsiao-ti, producer Lee Lieh and critic Wen Tien-hsiang. The launch was presided over by minister of culture Lung Ying-tai and welcomed at a ceremony by new Taipei mayor Eric Chu.

Last week the Ministry of Culture, which took over responsibility for film industry supervision from the old Government Information Office, allocated production subsidies of NT$80 million ($2.67 million) across ten new feature projects.

Projects receiving support include: “Love Is Blue,” a nearly completed work by Chang Tso-chi; “Foret Debussy,” a French co-production directed by Maurice Kuo; animated comedy “On Happiness Road” by Sung Hsin-yin; and “Sashimi,” starring Lee Kang-sheng, and Japanese adult video actress Hatano Yui; and romance “All You Need Is Love,” co-directed by actor-musician Ritchie Ren, and starring Shu Qi.

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The ministry says that the Taiwanese industry is growing strongly with production spend up 12% per year since 2008 and reached some NT$2 billion (US$67 million) last year. International productions that shot in Taiwan recently include Ang Lee’s “Life of Pi,” and Luc Besson’s current hit “Lucy.” Martin Scorsese’s “Silence,” which recently began production in Japan, will predominantly be shot in Taiwan.

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