×

China Steps Up Pressure on Golden Horse Awards After Last Year’s Political Firestorm

China’s spat with Taiwan over the prestigious Golden Horse film awards has escalated, with mainland productions and stars being ordered to boycott the ceremony and some Hong Kong companies and celebrities reportedly pulling out as well.

China’s state-run CCTV announced on its official Weibo site Wednesday that the China Film Administration had banned local films and filmmakers from taking part in the 56th edition of the Golden Horse Awards, often dubbed the Oscars of Chinese-language cinema. The glittering annual event takes place in Taiwan.

At last year’s ceremony, award-winning Taiwanese director Fu Yue’s acceptance speech sparked a political firestorm when she said she hoped Taiwan could be treated as an independent entity. That quickly drew condemnation from some mainland Chinese actors attending the ceremony, including Gong Li, and on social media in mainland China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory.

China had already announced in June that it was scheduling its own film awards, the Golden Roosters, on the same day this year, Nov. 23, as the Golden Horse Awards. Wednesday’s announced boycott also comes just days after China banned its citizens from individual travel to Taiwan, which has been seen as a strike against Taiwan’s pro-independence president, Tsai Ing-wen.

Although the mainland’s boycott does not officially include Hong Kong films and filmmakers, some Hong Kong film companies are reportedly withdrawing from the Golden Horse competition as well. Hong Kong’s Apple Daily said that titles including crime thriller “The White Storm 2 – Drug Lords” from Focus Group and Sil-Metropole Organization, which has close ties with mainland China, and “Line Walker 2: Invisible Spy” from Shaw Brothers Studio, which has investment from the mainland, are among those being pulled from the event.

Producer John Chong (“Infernal Affairs”), who rejoined Media Asia earlier this year, told Variety that Media Asia had not scheduled any film releases yet this year and so has not submitted any titles to compete in the Golden Horse awards. But he said that if a project is co-produced with mainland China, the company will need to seek advice from mainland partners regarding participation in the Golden Horse.

Alex Wong, head of Hong Kong’s Filmko, was quoted as saying that the company supported the China Film Administration’s decision and that the company’s projects and stars would not attend the Golden Horse ceremony.

Besides the awards ceremony, mainland Chinese filmmakers are also banned from taking part in any cultural exchange events in Taiwan. The 15th Greater China Film Directors’ Forum, which is scheduled to take place Sept. 6-9, has been canceled after some 50 mainland Chinese film directors, including Feng Xiaogang (“Youth,” “The Banquet”) were told that they would not be allowed to travel to Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture said the Golden Horse would continue as usual as a celebration of cinematic art. The ministry criticized mainland authorities for undermining the efforts of mainland Chinese filmmakers.

The Golden Horse organizing committee did not comment on the boycott. Its nominations will be announced in October. According to the data on the event’s website, this year 148 dramatic feature films have been submitted, compared to 228 last year, 202 in 2017, and 181 in 2016.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • So Long, My Son directed by

    Wang Xiaoshuai's 'So Long, My Son' Earns Six APSA Nominations

    Chinese drama, “So Long, My Son,” was nominated in six categories, making it the early favorite for this year’s Asia Pacific Screen Awards. The Wang Xiaoshuai-directed drama about separation, secrets, a lifetime of regret, and the consequences of China’s one child policy, had its premiere in February at the Berlin festival. There it won Silver [...]

  • Alan Rickman

    Film News Roundup: 'Galaxy Quest' Documentary Set for Release

    In today’s film news roundup, rescue drama “Not Without Hope” is back in development, a “Galaxy Quest” documentary is set for release, “The Two Popes” wins another award, and Ella Joyce gets cast. PROJECT REVIVED U.K.-based financing-production outfit Goldfinch has bought feature film rights to Nick Schuyler’s “Not Without Hope” and signed “The Fog” director [...]

  • Ryan Reynolds John Krasinkski

    Ryan Reynolds, John Krasinski in Talks for 'Imaginary Friends' Movie

    Ryan Reynolds and John Krasinski are in talks to board the fantasy comedy “Imaginary Friends” at Paramount Studios. Paramount recently won the bidding for the property over Lionsgate and Sony. Krasinski will write, direct,  produce and star while Reynolds will co-star if the deals go through. The story centers on a man who can see [...]

  • Willem Dafoe attends the "Motherless Brooklyn"

    Willem Dafoe Joins Guillermo Del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley'

    Willem Dafoe has closed a deal to join Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of “Nightmare Alley.” Collider had first reported that Dafoe was being considered for a role in the film, but sources now say the “Lighthouse” star has closed a deal to join the cast. The “At [...]

  • 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    Busan Film Review: 'To the Ends of the Earth'

    “To the Ends of the Earth,” the story of a young Japanese journalist’s experiences in Uzbekistan filming a report for a Japanese TV travel show, was originally commissioned to celebrate 25 years of cordial diplomatic relations between director Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s hyper-developed island homeland and the less affluent, landlocked Central Asian nation. As such we might [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content