Taipei Film Commission Organizes Audiovisual Industry Conference and Brings Public Opinions to the Government's Attention
Taipei Film Commission Organizes Audiovisual Industry Conference and Brings Public Opinions to the Government's Attention - Taipei Film Commission
In yesterday (the 21st) afternoon, Taipei Film Commission held the "Audiovisual Industry Conference" at the 2F conference room of SPOT - Taipei Film House to discuss issues concerning: improvement of audiovisual production quality and efficiency, the difficulties faced by frontline workers of the audiovisual industry, and how policies can be amended to conform with their needs. The conference was hosted by Commissioner of Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs and Taipei Culture Foundation CEO Chung Yung-feng, with more than 70 participants of related professions. During the conference, participants engaged in discussions about Taipei City's filming policy, site request procedures, and labor-management relations.
Commissioner Chung Yung-feng of Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs personally hosted the "Audiovisual Industry Conference"
Councilor Yen Ruo-fang was also seen present at the conference
Representatives from the government sector, including Deputy CEO Ann Yang of Taipei Culture Foundation, Director Jennifer Jao of Taipei Film Commission, Chief Su Yi-ru of Arts Development Division, Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs, Detective Liu Peng-cheng of Taipei City Police Department, Planner Tsai Yi-wen of Transportation Management Section, Taipei City Department of Transportation, and Officer Li We-ru of Labor Standards Division, Taipei City Department of Labor, were present to listen to the opinions of frontline workers of the audiovisual industry. Meanwhile, Councilor Yen Ruo-fang, a long-time advocate for audiovisual issues, was also seen present at the conference. Apart from the government representatives mentioned above, representatives from several audiovisual organizations were also gathered on this day.
Commissioner Chung Yung-feng of Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs said during his speech that audiovisual development is part of the department's main services, and he hoped to provide the fundamental assistance for all filmmakers here in Taipei City. Considering the fact that other counties and cities have also begun providing film production assistance and location services, Commissioner Chung encouraged internal departments of Taipei City to coordinate with each other more efficiently, and asked for instructions from all participants.
Taipei Film Commission Director Jennifer Jao then made an introduction of industry representatives present at the conference, including: Visual and Audio Production Association Deputy Chairman Liu Shih-fan, Taipei Film and Drama Union Chairwoman Apple Yang, Chinese Society of Cinematographers Secretary General Lu Chun-ming, Taiwan Movie Production Development Association President Wu Kao-hsiung, Taiwan Film-related Creative Industries Association President Frank J.K. Chen, Lee Rong Film & TV Equipment Company person-in-charge Lin Mei-hua, Taipei Postproduction Chairman Hu Ching-chung, actor Shih Chun, lighting specialist Chu Hung-ren, and producer Wang Hanson. She encouraged industry representatives to speak freely for Taiwan's filmmakers and facilitate exchange the public and the private sector.
Director Jennifer Jao then made a report on the progress made by Taipei Film Commission for nearly ten years since its founding, and explained to participants about Taipei City's new production assistance and review procedures, the 22 new venues available for commercial filming in Taipei City, and digitized services scheduled to be launched in 2018. Councilor Yen Ruo-fang responded that the audiovisual industry is of great importance to Taipei City. This year's Summer Universiade, for example, promotes Taipei as an ideal city to visit and should benefit the tourism industry. She hoped to see more convenient platforms becoming available to serve filmmakers, especially the digital movement. In the future, she will support Taipei Film Commission's budget request at the city council.
In light of the recent bankruptcy involving Eastern Shine Production, a production contractor of SETTV, and the repercussions it had on the overall industry and workers, the participants then moved on to discuss the long-existing problems of Taiwan's audiovisual industry, including: excessive work hours, under-compensation, intensive competition, and under-budgeting. Frontline workers present at the meeting also revealed common misconducts within the industry, where workers are hired on a contract basis to perform duties of permanent employees, and thereby deprive them of assurances such as occupational safety, insurance coverage, and contracts. To rectify this situation, the participants proposed to have all film-related companies join industry associations as a mandatory requirement, and advised all film-related workers to join unions for collective bargaining. Participants also drew experience from the success of the Korean film industry and recommended to have the government step in and close down violators while support honest businesses. Government agencies should avoid granting subsidies to businesses with employment dispute, and may refer to the blacklists provided by unions for reference. Commissioner Chung responded quickly to the proposal that the Department of Cultural Affairs will be conducting full-scale review and making remedies to all subsidiaries with the introduction of blue barriers.
Taipei Film and Drama Union Chairwoman Apple Yang
Taiwan Film Production Development Association President Wu Kao-hsiung
According to the participants, Jackie Chen visited Taipei last year to make his new film - Bleeding Steel, and approximately RMB 200 million was spent on this trip alone. However, prior to his visit, Jackie Chen was once concerned about the gloomy outlook of cross-strait relations and how it may affect film production. Fortunately, he had complete faith in Taipei Film Commission, and was able to complete many difficult scenes involving car stunts, explosions, and closed-street filming at Xinyi District with the help of the commission, the city government, and the police department. They also noted that foreign production teams kept their filming strictly within 12 hours, because they can be fined for exceeding this limit.
Some participants recommended the city government to publish the rates and schedule for municipal properties, and make location leasing a regular business activity instead of cutting rates just to attract foreign production teams. This suggestion was highly supported by Commissioner Chung, who promised to set up standardized rates and systems within the shortest time possible. Meanwhile, Councilor Yen Ruo-fang urged the Department of Cultural Affairs to explore measures in response to the negative aspects brought to everyone's attention. Councilor Yen also admitted that many of the issues discussed require involvement from the central government, particularly those that concern legislation. She then made a commitment to approach legislators for help, and asked Commissioner Chung to engage central government bodies such as the Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Labor in active communication.
Lastly, Commissioner Chung thanked everyone for their guidance, and said that he used to see the audiovisual industry as a single entity without knowing how it moved or connected with others. He then urged everyone to join unions as doing so would enable better communication with the government. He pointed out that opinions exchanged during the conference not only help Taipei Film Commission redefine the focus of its future services, but also allow the Department of Cultural Affairs to adjust its policies for the benefit of the audiovisual industry.
Approximately 70 representatives from various professions participated in the "Audiovisual Industry Conference.