Taiwan's GovernmentInformation Office (GIO) yesterday announced new financial rewards foraward-winning local directors.

Film directors andproducers who win top prizes at Cannes, Venice, Berlin or the Academy Awardscan each receive $310,000, the same bounty paid to taekwondo champions ChenShih-hsin and Chu Mu-yen after winning Taiwan's first-ever gold medals at lastsummer's Olympic Games.

In addition, any directorand producer winning the Best Foreign Language Film award at the Oscars canreceive a $2.5m production subsidy if they team up again for another productionwithin two years.

The same sum is alsoavailable to winners at Cannes, Venice and Berlin, but only if they bring homeboth the top prize for best film and best director in the maincompetition.

All films must promotepositive images of Taiwan.

Only five working Taiwandirectors - Ang Lee, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Tsai Ming-liang, Edward Yang and LinCheng-sheng - have won eligible prizes at the four events. Among these, only Lee would have beeneligible for the $2.5m bounty, with Oscar winner Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon. Tsai called the reward a "papermoon" while Lin criticised the government for "shouting outslogans" instead of solving the industry's real problems.

In February this year,Tsai Ming-liang was awarded $310,000 from Kaohsiung City after his film The Wayward Cloud won a Silver Bear atBerlin for best script.

Tsai's film is also thefront-runner for an additional $90,000 prize from the GIO as thehighest-grossing film of the year to date.

Cloud grossed $315,000 in Taipei; the closest runner up,animation Fire Ball, has justcrossed $150,000 in the capital.