The Last Queen

Taiwan’s Funding & Rising Status As Global Production Hub: Part One

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Taiwan was one of the few territories that emerged from the pandemic relatively unscathed. As an island, it was relatively easy for the government to secure the borders to control the spread of Covid, so production carried on more or less uninterrupted, and cinemas mostly remained open during the pandemic. The lack of Hollywood releases during this time gave local films space to breath, and the industry also benefitted from a reverse brain drain as many Taiwanese who had been working in mainland China returned home.

In addition to these unexpected Covid benefits, the industry has also received a boost from the activity of the Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA), the government agency launched in 2019 to support Taiwan’s creative industries. Not only is TAICCA supporting local film and TV production and infrastructure, it is also positioning Taiwan as an international co-production hub through its new funding schemes. It has also launched the Taiwan Creative Content Fest (TCCF) in early November as an industry event to build bridges between Taiwan and the rest of the world (mainland China is welcome but not really present).

This edition of Streamlined takes an in-depth look at the TAICCA funding, and the future potential of Taiwan’s creative industries, but as there’s so much to say, the newsletter will be split into two parts. This first part is focusing on co-production funding and the NDF.

TAICCA Funding Extends Beyond Asia

Taiwan has had film and TV support programmes for decades, taking the Korean system with its combination of public and private investment as inspiration, but it wasn’t until the launch of TAICCA that these schemes had much consistency. TAICCA supports local film and TV production through several initiatives, but of most interest to international producers is the Taiwan International Co-funding Programme (TICP), which provides investment of up to $300,000 or 30% of a production’s budget.

The funding requires Taiwanese elements in the production team and/or story, although the definition of these elements appears to be quite flexible. It also requires international distribution to be in place. It does not require production to take place in Taiwan or to have a Taiwanese co-producer on board, although most productions find it easier to have a local partner. TAICCA expects profit-sharing for a period of five years, if the production breaks even, with the maximum amount recouped equal to its initial investment. 

TICP can be combined with the separate 30% cash rebates offered by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture for productions that shoot in Taiwan, but the total amount of Taiwanese government funding cannot exceed more than 49% of a project’s total budget.

What makes the TAICCA funding different to some other co-production schemes in the region is that it is not limited to Asian productions, although it has funded several Southeast Asian films (including Cannes Critics Week winner Tiger Stripes, Sundance entry In My Mother’s Skin, Berlin title Tomorrow Is A Long Time and documentary Divine Factory) with partners from Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore.

Some of the international films from outside the region that have accessed TICP include The Last Queen [PICTURED ABOVE], produced by France’s Patrick Sobelman and co-directed by Algeria’s Damien Ounouri and Adila Bendimerad; The Human Surge 3, from Argentina’s Eduardo Williams; The Settlers, from Chile’s Felipe Gálvez Haberle; For My Country, a story about Algerian immigrants in France directed by Rachid Hami; and Black Tea (previously known as The Perfumed Hill) from Malian director Abderrahmane Sissako, which is currently in post-production.

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