In a not so auspicious start to the Lunar New Year, it appears Hong Kong superstar Louis Koo and his production company One Cool Film Production Ltd (天下一電影公司) is facing some accusations. Up-and-coming director-writer Ren Xia claims Koo’s company owes him thousands in unpaid wages and for taking control of his prize money awarded by the Golden Horse Film Project Promotion board.
In a statement on Facebook through the Equal Write Union Hong Kong, Ren Xia who won the one million prize in 2018 for A Life of Papers 紙皮婆婆 accused the company of “wrongfully” handling screenwriting fees and contracts as well as the distribution of the prize money. He claims that not only was he cut out of the screenwriting contract, he has also not been paid. As such he finally sought help from the Union to help resolve this.
Per their statement, Ren Xia began working on the script in October 2018 and was integral in its development. However without his consent, One Cool Film Production signed a script writing budget with another screenwriter named Shu Qi. Aside from that, the statement claims that he has not been compensated for the three years he spent working on the script, and that any attempts to work this out has been met by the response “the screenwriting fee has been fully paid to Shu Qi” from OCFP’s executives.
Moreover, the statement claims the company cancelled Ren Xia’s contract as the director in November 2021 without any warning and that without his consent also allocated the jointly owned prize money. As attempts to negotiate by the Union on Ren Xia’s behalf failed to reach a reasonable resolution, they are now requesting to have a face to face meeting with Louis Koo to resolve the matter.
One Cool Film Production Responds and Demands an Apology
On January 24, One Cool Film Production responded to the allegations in a statement through their lawyer Hogan Lovells. First, they pointed out that the company signed a contract appointing Shu Qi as the project’s screenwriter and that Ren Xia was only part of the project per Shu Qi’s recommendation. “The firm’s client paid Shu Qi and Ren Xia the remuneration for the relevant phases of the project per three contracts. It is understood that Mr. Ren Xia participated in the creation of the first draft of the script. He was then paid by Mr. Shu Qi a remuneration of HK$ 67,500 (approximately US$ 8,621.55).” They emphasised that the other party’s allegations that he was owed back wages for more than three years did not involve OCFP.
As for the allegations that OCFP misallocated the award money, they said that although Golden Horse Film Project did not have any guidelines on how to allocate the winnings, they said that it seemed fair to distribute the amount equally amongst the production company, producer, director and screenwriter. However they said that based on the email exchanged between the two parties, it appears Ren Xia expected to receive half of the winnings and that Shu Qi who is also a producer of the project won’t be getting any. “This is wrong” they said.
Now as for the request to have a face to face with Mr Louis Koo, the statement said “to forget about bothering Mr Louis Koo”. Adding that with regards to the malicious falsities and defamatory remarks made against their client, they emphasised that “unless you apologise immediately, our client will be filing a civil suit to seek justice and to set the record straight.”