How many Taiwan films is enough Taiwan films?

Last February, the government said it would amend regulations so that local theaters would have to screen more Taiwan films. The target was 20% and was to be gradually reached. According to a United Daily News article, only 2.5% of the current screenings were of local films. I’m just curious as to whether people think 20% is a reasonable number.

Last February, the government said it would amend regulations so that local theaters would have to screen more Taiwan films – the target, to be reached gradually, was that 20% of the screenings would be of such films. According to a United Daily News article, only 2.5% of the current screenings were of Taiwanese films. I’d like to know what other people think of this. Should there be a mininum percentage of screenings of Taiwan films? If so, what percentage?[/quote]

I don’t know if it’s exactly the right step to take, but a step in the right direction. The theatres could turn around and say that the reason they screen Taiwanese films for a week only, if at all, is that noone goes to see them. The problem is really marketing. Perhaps the government should step into help with promoting Taiwanese films to the public. But quotas are OK. Not a bad move.


I don’t agree, Sir Don. Its just a typical unthinking reaction by the government buffoons. Quotas? How are these to be met? The only way I can see is to play FEWER foreign films, because the local ones jsut aren’t being made in sufficient numbers.
How about a REAL plan instead, such as providing some of the lottery money to fund a Taiwan film foundation?

20%? I’d better get busy.

quotas are dumb. frankly, taiwanese people don’t like watching taiwanese films. they much prefer hollywood fluff. forcing theaters to show taiwanese films is great for all the foreigners who now have more places to watch them, but the average taiwanese person wouldn’t care.

if a theater showed a taiwanese film for a week and got decent ticket sales, they would not pull them. as it is, taiwanese people prefer to flock to western films. dictating taste by government edict isn’t going to work.

Quotas for local films work or have worked in other countries. It’s not that Taiwanese don’t like to watch Taiwanese films, it’s just that the films don’t get martketed to them.

Sandman, I agree that something like cretign a film foundation would be better, but quotas an’t going to hurt, even if it just means that multipexes keep showing a couple of old classics in their smallest cinemas over and over. At least I’ll get a chance to see them.


I’d like to see Taiwan push for more Taiwanese films. But 20 percent is completely unrealistic given the low output of the industry here. And many of the ones that are made are a bit arty for popular taste.

Unfortunately, though, it’s probably a lost cause, because of agreements signed to get into the World Trade Organization. Try closing off 20 percent of the movie market and Hollywood is going to have Washington scream bloody murder to the WTO. The government probably could have negotiated something several years ago to protect the local arts industries; but it didn’t. Maybe the KMT was thinking, “Those damn artists all vote DPP anyway.”

The gummit should start by getting people interested again in what has already been made here. The public TV station could do more, for example.

[quote=“Sir Donald Bradman”]Quotas for local films work or have worked in other countries.

worked in what way? are quotas a means or an end? are they to help the local film industry temporarily or are they a permanent solution to the problem?

don’t know about you, but most of the films i watch i do so in spite of the marketing, not because of it. marketing an arthouse flick about a lesbian taiwanese high school student and her growing pains(i liked this movie, btw) is not going to make it a hit in taiwan. what will become hits awill be brainless taiwanese versions of the brainless hollywood crap that everyone around the world watches. i see how that improves the quantity of taiwan’s film industry, but not how it improves it’s quality.

It will be a long time before the culture changes sufficiently for quotas to work. Actually, it seems that the direction the theatres have headed (i.e. commercial Hollywood shite) is increasingly at odds with that of many Taiwanese directors. But, the catalyst might be if a couple more of these directors were to break into Hollywood…

How are the Canadians and French surviving WTO rules? Those are two of the most sensitive countries when it comes to national sensitivity about culture and media. A few years ago, Canada still had incredibly tight restrictions on foreign ownership of media businesses, and there were lots of quotas for domestically produced media content. So if the Canucks can do it, so too can the Taiwanese presumably.

Personally, I think it’s a great idea. I’m sure there are other ways to do it, but this is probably just as good as any. It’s a cryin’ shame the Taiwanese don’t have more pride in their own language and culture. Hats off to Hollywood media execs for their success in dominating the culture business internationally, but it seems important enough to me to try to preserve and nourish pride in one’s own language and culture that quotas are probably a good idea. There are also probably some other ways to do it that don’t sound as blunt, such as requiring foreign media companies to reinvest a percentage of their earnings into local media development projects.

It’s not so simple. Other countries negotiated to have their protections grandfathered in. As I mentioned earlier, Taiwan could have tried to do so but didn’t. Taiwan has already agreed to abide by a set of rules and isn’t free to simply change them. It would have to enter into negotiations with any WTO economy that objected. (I’m fairly certain that’s right; but maybe one of the finance mavens on Forumosa could correct me if I’m wrong.) And when you want to gain something, you generally have to be willing to give something up. What would Taiwan be willing to sacrifice in order to have 20 percent of the films in its theaters be Taiwanese?

I personally think the two facts co-exist; that is, Taiwanese don’t like to watch Taiwanese films, and Taiwanese films don’t get marketed to the Taiwanese. There’s no doubt that marketing can somehow influence and change the preference and habit of movie goers. Dominating global box office, the eight biggest US film companies have done very good jobs in marketing their movies, good or bad ones. Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is Mandarin spoken and it’s not a great movie in my eyes, but still it was a box office hit in Taiwan, because the film company just knew how to promote and market this movie worldwide and its fame spread from overseas back to Taiwan. When there is a new Hollywood movie coming to Taiwan, we can see commercial cuts flooding TV or whatever elsewhere, but Taiwanese movies seem to have been stealthily on! For example, there is a Taiwanese movie festival going on at Spot right now, but how many Taiwanese people hear of it and know of those movies as to how good they are or what the storyline of each movie is? There are more to do and plan than just making good Taiwanese movies if the film industry wants to attract more Taiwanese to see domestic movies.

Some of you may not be aware that Taiwan imposes a quota of something like 60 foreign films a year in Taiwan. The rules are more complicated than that, but 60 films is the end result.

This means that the theater owners choose the 60 films that they think will earn the most at the box office. Inevitably, they choose 58 or 59 Hollywood films. Now I like Hollywod filsm just fine, but I would also like to see other stuff too. What the government needs to do is allow an umlimited number of foreign films. Then small art house theaters will spring up in places like Taipei and Taichung. I’m sure that this kind of theater would show both new and old Taiwanese films.

Promoting the arts like film, fine arts, music is a dead cause in Taiwan.

Take film for instance. Ask any one about Chinese films outside Asia, and they will quote you Chinese, and HK films. My friends in the music business 1) the mando-canto pop ones have a easier time in HK 2) the classical orchestra ones move to the US or Europe because there’s no jobs here. Not a lot of institutions that supports the arts.

Ironically, the PRC does a better job for all the talk about Taiwan v. PRC.