Lee declines invitation to be a judge at Taipei fest

Local actor Mark Lee has turned down a rare opportunity to be a judge at the Taipei Film Festival due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was invited after he was nominated for Best Leading Actor for his role as a drag queen in the film Number 1 at Taiwan's Golden Horse Awards in November, Chinese evening daily Shin Min Daily News reported.

The invitation is considered an honour for Singaporean artistes and Lee, 52, said he agreed to it immediately. He was planning to fly to Taiwan on June 17, pending confirmation of his flight and accommodation.

The Taipei Film Festival 2021 will be held from June 24 to July 10.

However, with Covid-19 cases rising in Singapore and Taiwan, he made the painful decision to turn down the invitation. "I have to be quarantined for several days after flying to Taipei and then spend seven days watching the movies," Lee told Shin Min. "I have to be quarantined again after returning to Singapore, and it would affect the filming of (the movie) Reunion Dinner and other jobs."

He said he felt it was a pity to turn down the invitation and hoped there would be another opportunity in future.

Taiwan, which has had relatively few Covid-19 cases previously, has grappled with a rise in cases in recent days. Yesterday, it reported 335 new cases - all domestic infections except for two imported cases. The figure broke its daily record of local cases for the fourth consecutive day.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2021, with the headline 'Lee declines invitation to be a judge at Taipei fest'. Subscribe