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Ang Lee sees clout of Chinese film awards growing

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee believes the modest clout of the premier awards for Chinese-language films will grow as the market for such films increases.

The Taiwanese filmmaker spoke Tuesday in Taipei ahead of next week's 50th annual Golden Horse Awards, which showcases films from Taiwan, mainland China, Singapore and Hong Kong. The event is the equivalent of the Oscars, and Lee will be a juror selecting winners in 22 categories, ranging from Best Feature Film to Best Action Choreography.

Asked about Hollywood's relative indifference to the Golden Horse event, Lee says that will change as the market for Chinese films grows. "I think in 10 years' time our market is bigger than the Hollywood market," he said. "So it comes naturally."

While the Golden Horse event is a staple for Asian film fans, with glitzy local television coverage and legions of screaming fans blanketing the award venue to get a close look at their favorite stars, it has little impact outside the region. A-list Hollywood personalities almost never attend, and few films showcased here make a splash in theaters outside of Asia.

Still, Lee said, it was not necessary for the Golden Horse Awards to do anything special to make a bigger impact in Hollywood, because "Chinese-speaking people are probably four times more than English-speaking people."

"I think as long as we're influential in the Chinese-speaking world it will prevail, it will ripple out," he said of the awards, adding that while the Golden Horse event will likely have its ups and downs "eventually, I think it will get picked up."

This year's Golden Horse awards are scheduled to be distributed Nov. 23.

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