More Ban For the Buck in China
Karen Chu and Steven Schwankert from the Hollywood Reporter write on the Pusan International Film Festival, running from October 2-10, 2008, where Hong Kong director Tsui Hark’s film was recently pulled by Chinese film censors:
Screening a Chinese-made film internationally without a permit guarantees a ban for the film’s theatrical release in China and could result in sanctions for its producers and director.
However, a banned film in China can garner international attention. The article continues:
Lou Ye’s 2006 “Summer Palace” screened at the Festival de Cannes as an official competition entry before Chinese censors approved it, resulting in a five-year ban for Lou from making films in China. However, it was picked up by U.S. and French distributors. The film’s producer, Fang Li, subsequently produced “Lost in Beijing,” which also was banned in China after a theatrical run.
International buyers agree that these controversies attract attention. “It creates a buzz for the film. I would certainly try to look at a film that is banned,” said Jerome Bliah, president of International Films Distribution Consultants.
On the other hand, Feng Xiaogang’s film “Assembly” won several awards at the Pyongyang International Film Festival in North Korea. See also the entire story, “Assembly” wins highest prize at Pyongyang int’l film festival” by Xinhua News Agency.