Funding request rejected from indie film group

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 17 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 17 July, 2011, 12:00am


For the first time, the Arts Development Council has rejected a funding application from veteran independent film organisation Ying E Chi.

The group says its request was refused because the council's film and media arts sector was recently taken over by mainstream film - industry people whose interest is in commercial cinema - a charge the council denies.

'The ADC does not have a policy expecting arts groups to be commercially viable,' the council said.

Ying E Chi, a non-profit-making organisation founded in 1997 to promote and distribute independent films, had sought a one-year grant of around HK$400,000. The council rejected the request, saying the group had failed to keep pace with unspecified changes in the indie movie scene. It suggested the group instead apply for grants on a project-by-project basis.

'The examiners found that Hong Kong's independent film scene has undergone drastic changes but it seemed that the group [Ying E Chi] had not made any adjustments accordingly,' the council's rejection letter said.

Ying E Chi's funding application was screened by a group chaired by Johnnie To Kei-fung, a critically acclaimed and commercially successful director. Others among the film and media arts group's examiners include Alan Mak Siu-fai, co-director of Infernal Affairs; veteran producer John Chong Ching of top local studio Media Asia; and Dante Lam Chiu-yin, award-winning director of police and crime thrillers.

'The film and media arts group upholds the view that there's no difference between independent and mainstream films, but only good and bad films,' said Vincent Chui Wan-shun, a Ying E Chi founder. 'But certain films will not be released through the existing commercial system. In that case they need support for distribution. I'm worried that the council applies the standard that measures commercial organisations on us.'

The council said it evaluated the group's performance based on the extent to which it fulfilled its stated objectives. 'The ADC would not recommend how Ying E Chi will achieve its objectives,' the council wrote in response to an e-mail query from the Sunday Morning Post.