Hong Kong screenwriters' union has repeatedly accused local actor Louis Koo’s production company One Cool Film Productions of withholding payment of Ren Xia, a local director who took part in a 2018 film A Life Of Papers for over three years.
According to an official statement on Equal Write Union Hong Kong’s Facebook page on 25 January, the union said that One Cool Film Productions did not credit Ren as the director for the movie, and has withheld his screenwriting fee for over three years.
The film won the grand prize at the 2018 Taipei Golden Horse Film Project Promotion, which came with a cash prize. However, the statement said that One Cool Film Productions did not include Ren’s name upon signing the contract for screenwriting part of the film, instead it signed the contract with Shu Kei, the producer of the film and acknowledged Shu as the screenwriter, the statement read.
The statement also asked why the company withheld the corresponding screenwriting fee for over three years and questioned whether the producers or company management team should be held accountable for the incident. “Is it a technical issue or caused by someone misleading the screenwriter or the company? Did the company conduct investigations to prevent similar incidents from happening?” the statement said.
The union also posted some screen grabs of internal conversations between itself and a producer of One Cool Film Productions. It then urged the production company to clarify the issue and requested a one-on-one conversation with Louis Koo.
This comes as One Cool Film Productions posted a statement on Instagram, defending its decision of excluding Ren in the screenwriter’s list of the film. The production company reiterated that the screenwriter for the film was indeed Shu Kei, whereas Ren was recommended to the company by Shu.
The company also said that it had only signed the contract with Shu, and already paid Shu in full. It said it understood that Shu had paid Ren the screenwriting fee for the first draft of the film, “This is a partnership deal between Ren and Shu. The accusations of withholding payment for over three years have nothing to do with our company,” the statement read.
The company also sought for an apology from the union for the previous defamatory remarks.
Previously in June last year, Lianwan, a Chinese NFT platform, apologised for causing commotion in Hong Kong as actor Louis Koo Tin Lok’s agency accused that the platform misusing Koo’s images for marketing without consent. Known to be a Chinese digital collectibles platform that sells blockchain-backed images, Lianwan showcased images of posters from Koo’s 2021 crime thriller “G Storm” and claimed to be collaborating with Koo, according to a statement from Koo’s agency Master Kingdom posted on Koo’s its official Weibo account on 17 June 2022.
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