Taiwan Film Festival 2019
Ahead of the second Taiwan Film Festival screening in Sydney 25-28 July, we spoke to Festival Director, Benson Wu to get the scoop on the 2019 programme.
This is the second year of the Festival. What have you learnt from the inaugural year and what is different in 2019?
We took onboard our survey and feedback from last year’s festival and realised our audience wanted more art-house and independent films and the 2019 programme reflects that demand. We've also included more documentaries because we heard audiences wanted more films about Taiwan’s history.
This year we are also transforming the cinemas to include an art gallery exhibition, to showcase art in more than just the form of cinema, but also in design, painting and writing. As Ming-Liang Tsai said, “cinema and art are a type of gazing into something.” Ming-Liang Tsai is an award-winning director from the Second New Wave of cinematic cultural in Taiwan. He has been titled as the master or slow cinema and well known for his simplistic and minimalist cinematography style.
There are a number of significant cultural and political events happening in Taiwan from same-sex marriage to Presidential elections. How are those events shaping the filmmaking in the festival?
In Taiwan its common that only half of the story is reported - the more glorious stories and victories. The documentary makers in our programme are telling the other half of the story, a darker truth behind important Taiwanese social movements and historical events.
The award-winning Our Youth in Taiwan portrays the life of two activists who led the largest social movement in recent Taiwanese history, Lost Black Cats – 35th Squadron is about the Taiwanese pilots involved in the American U-2 project to uncover China’s development of nuclear weapons in the 1960s and 1970s and The River by Ming-Liang Tsai, made in 1997, is a window into the current GLBTI struggle in Taiwan and depicts how hard it is ‘come out’ to a Taiwanese family.
You have some really interesting practitioners coming to the festival this year. Can you tell us about them?
We are really excited to have director Lung-Yin Lim opening the festival with his film Ohong Village that will be followed by a Q&A session. The film about the remote southwest of Taiwan is a stunning debut that explores greed, desire and pride, it is truly outstanding. We will also have an independent short film director Kai-Tung Tam here with us to introduce her film Penny on Saturday 27 July.
How have you approached funding for the Festival?
After the success in 2018 we are very excited to be supported by Multicultural NSW, Spotlight Taiwan and Taipei Economic and Cultural Office and importantly we’ve gained funding of the local business and communities’ support such as Ettason, Australian Taiwanese Friendship Association and TECO. With the Taiwanese Film Festival in Sydney we wanted to create a platform not only to bring together the Asian communities but to attract a everyone to enjoy a different type of culture, cinematography and storytelling. Our passion and vision have successfully attracted many of our sponsors to get behind the festival.
For more information on the Taiwanese Film Festival and to book: https://www.taiwanfilmfestival.org.au