Luck of draw: mainland films struggle in Taiwan quota lottery

Updated: 2015-01-23 17:06

By Liu Jing(

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Luck of draw: mainland films struggle in Taiwan quota lottery

A still from the film Gone With the Bullets [Photo/]

Taiwan recently released its annual list of 10 Chinese mainland movies allowed to screen on the island in 2015. Instead of bothersome sifting and lengthy deliberation on the 36 qualified candidates for the quota, the Taiwan cultural authority has resorted to the simplest and fastest method: draw lots.

This year's quota includes "Dearest", "the Nightingale" and "Meet Miss Anxiety", but some mainland blockbusters including Jiang Wen's "Gone with the Bullets" have become victims of bad luck.

Xu Jinglei, a director and actress from the mainland, felt a relief after her new movie "Somewhere Only We know" won a place in the list. "(We have) won the draw lots to screen in Taiwan…but why does it sound like something involves feudal superstition? " Xu said in her Weibo account on Jan 15, 2015.

Last November, Taiwan revised its film quota rules to grant exemption to mainland prize-winning films in festivals such as Cannes or Berlin and awards including Oscar and Taiwan's Golden Horse Award from the quota lottery.

The latest revision has allowed another three movies from the world's second largest film market to release in the island in 2015. But the total number of 13 still looks disproportionately small considering Taiwan imported 622 overseas movies in 2014.

At the American Film Market last year, Taiwan said it will introduce $2.5 million in grants from the start of 2015 to encourage international movie co-productions to come to the island and to help with promotion, according to a report by the Hollywood Reporter.

The policy has sparked controversy on mainland Internet. Weibo user @Busyxiaoc suggests Taiwan movies go through a similar quota lottery before entering mainland cinemas. Others have found few reasons to worry about. @shashayidudian said that the major market for Chinese-language movies lies in the mainland. To screen in Taiwan is mainly for culture exchanges.

This policy has laid bare Taiwan authority's sense of inferiority as its TV and film industry has been completely overtaken by the mainland, said @Xuanxuan951208.