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Filmmakers among winners of 2011 Presidential Culture Awards

2011/08/04 15:44:07

Taipei, Aug. 4 (CNA) Filmmaker Hou Hsiao-hsien, who has been a fixture at the world's top film festivals, and movie producer Lee Lieh were among the winners of the sixth Presidential Culture Awards announced by the National Cultural Association on Wednesday.

It was the first time that people from the movie industry were chosen for the awards.

"This is a great honor and I will stay committed to filmmaking," said Hou, 64, in a text message to the media.

He said that in recent years he has been dedicating much of his time to reviving martial arts films and producing "black films" that have local appeal. These two genres will set Taiwan's film industry apart from Hollywood, he said.

The association said Hou won the award for his contribution to Taiwan's filmmaking industry.

Hou was a key member of the influential New Taiwan Cinema movement, from 1982 to 1986. So far he has created 19 films, including "A City of Sadness," "The Puppetmaster," "Flowers of Shanghai" and "Cafe Lumiere," all of which have become synonymous with glamour and attraction on the international stage.

The other winner from the movie business was Lee Lieh, who successfully introduced a new marketing and production model in the local film industry, according to the association.

For the past several decades, filmmakers in Taiwan have been relying on government subsidies, but Lee adopted a business concept for the marketing and production of films and has opened up a much larger audience for local motion pictures, the association said.

"I feel a sense of pressure and responsibility," she said in response to the announcement of the award.

Lee, a famous actress-turned producer, said she is relatively new to production and has only produced three features in the past few years.

But two of her films, "Orz Boyz" and "Monga," were among the top box office hits in Taiwan in the past five years.

The Sunshine Social Welfare Foundation, which offers assistance to burn victims; the Mustard Seed Mission, a Christian organization that cares for underprivileged people; and the Society for Wildlife and Nature were also honored for their dedication to public service.

President Ma Ying-jeou will present trophies and certificates Oct. 17 to the winners, who will each receive NT$1 million (US$34,600) in prize money.

(By Sabine Cheng and Hermia Lin)