Taiwanese multihyphenate Jay Chou's second self-directed movie, Rooftop, has again stirred controversy over the NT$12 million (S$500,000) grant that the film received from Taiwan's Ministry of Culture.
With an income worth NT$570 million (S$23.99 million) this year, on top of his immense popularity in Taiwan and China, it is believed that obtaining sponsorships would not be too difficult for the superstar. The 33-year-old was berated for 'fighting' over the government subsidy with other Taiwanese film producers who need the grant more than him.
Sources revealed that production costs amount to NT$200 million (S$8.4 million) in total. The film's publicist said in response, 'Jay did not fund the production, as Rooftop was an investment from several parties. We've gotten the grant and we'll pay our dues through marketing methods when the film premieres.'
The eligibility of the grant has also been questioned, as the film is a Taiwan-China co-production. Mr. Zhu Wen Qing, Chief of Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development explained, 'Currently a co-production is valid for grant application as long as the director and more than half the main cast are of Taiwanese nationality, and as long as more than one-third of the filming is done in Taiwan, the film is considered as a local production.'
Since filming began in July, the movie has been plagued by controversies. It was reported that visitors to the Hutoupi Scenic Area in Tainan were stopped from entering the tourist spot when the crew was there for filming.
Subsequently, an old street in Siluo Town of Yunlin County was closed again for filming reasons on a holiday, incurring wrath from the public. During filming, production crew were also said to be threatened with expulsion should they reveal details of the movie online.