Taiwan’s Government Information Office (GIO) has ordered the Taiwan branch of Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai’s Jet Tone Films to return the $121,600 (NT$4m) grant that it was awarded for the film Miao Miao.
The GIO also said it would take back a $152,000 (NT$5m) grant for the company’s new feature project – The End Of The Tunnel to be directed by Chang Rong-ji.
In a statement, the GIO’s Motion Pictures Department said Jet Tone violated its contract which demanded that the film should represent Taiwan and be presented under the name of the grant-receiving company – Taiwan Jet Tone – when participating in international film festivals.
However, the GIO said Jet Tone did not use its Taiwan address when it registered for the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF). Instead, it used a Hong Kong company name and a Hong Kong address.
Miao Miao, a love story directed by Cheng Hsiao-tse, was among the Chinese-language films withdrawn from MIFF last month, when the festival refused to withdraw Australian documentary, The 10 Conditions Of Love, about Uyghur leader Rebiya Kadeer.
GIO’s statement said that Miao Miao’s withdrawal prompted the Taiwan public to question the film’s origin and made the GIO look into the case.
Jet Tone has been asked to return the $121,600 grant by Oct 20 and a $4,864 security deposit for the grant will not be returned. Based on GIO regulations, Jet Tone will not be allowed to apply for funding within three years after being disqualified.
With the $152,000 grant for The End Of The Tunnel also being cancelled, the company will lose a total of $278,504.
Responding to the order, Jet Tone Taiwan said it had simply made a mistake putting Jet Tone’s affiliated company Block 2’s address on the MIFF registration. But GIO did not accept the explanation.
Rachel Chen, general manager of Jet Tone Films in Taiwan, said it was an unjust and unreasonable treatment for Miao Miao and Jet Tone. “We will fight for our rights and seek administrative remedy,” Chen told the Taipei-based Central News Agency.