New censorship rules a “death sentence” for movie industry: director

Hong Kong director Kiwi Chow Kwun-wai, one of the directors of the controversial movie Ten Years, said the government’s move to ban movies which endanger national security is a “death sentence” for film creation.

The rule would cause filmmakers to self censor, he said.

His comment came after Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-wah announced the new framework to film censorship this afternoon. According to the government’s proposal, censors will ban movies that endanger national safety, and those who screen the movies despite the ban will be jailed and fined a maximum HK$1 million.

“This kind of political self-censorship means all Hong Kong movies in the future will avoid politics,” Chow said.

The spokesman for the Federation of Hong Kong Filmmakers, Tin Kai-man, said moviemakers can only “play it by ear” in future, as they haven’t given any examples of what will be allowed and what not.

He said the government has told the industry that they can seek opinions from a consultation committee at the film censorship office.

“I wouldn’t say this is the best [solution], but it’s better than nothing, our biggest concern is we don’t want to break the law,” Tin said.

He said the industry had asked the authority whether Her Fatal Ways can be screened again, and the authority told them that a “restored version” of the movie has been approved.

The 1990 movie is a satirical comedy that plays on differences between Hong Kong and the mainland.

Tin said he believed that the government does not want to intervene in film creation, but he reminded that filmmakers should get legal advice when making a movie.

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