Used to be you had to be in London to enjoy the latest and greatest films from Taiwan, which was bad news for Stateside fans wanting a little taste. Now you won’t actually have to jet over to London to enjoy the Taiwan Cinefest Film Festival. The fest has expanded to Paris, France for 2012, and in late 2012, Asian film fans in Los Angeles and New York will also be getting a share of Taiwanese cinema.
The Taiwan Cinefest is a cultural initiative dedicated to improving access and understanding of Taiwanese cinema through annual festivals and screening events held in major European cities.
Staged annually in London since 2009, the Taiwan Cinefest festival platform has been expanded to Paris, France and from October 2012, to the United States with editions planned for Los Angeles and New York. It curates up to six feature length films per city across genres from new to more established filmmakers.
Each year the festival also runs “The New Talent Showcase”, a unique short film competition for aspiring filmmakers who involve Taiwanese subject matter or talent (both behind and in front of the camera) in their films. Each year eight films are selected and screened in participating festival cities culminating in one recipient being awarded the Clapper Award for Best Film.
“Our mission at the Taiwan Cinefest is to use the medium of film to advance understanding and cultural exchange between Taiwanese filmmakers and the international community.”
The London event kicks off May 24th and runs through the 26th, but there are currently no dates for the Stateside events yet. Keep checking the fest’s official site for updated information, or keep up with them on Facebook for updates.
For 2012, the Taiwan Cinefest line-up will include:
Taiwanese heart-throb Blue Lan plays A-hao, an aspiring young DJ who is raised by his grandfather after his mother’s passing. Growing up in a temple, A-hao takes part in “eight generals” (八家將) folk performances at religious events while spinning discs in his spare time. Things take a dramatic turn for the worse when a childhood friend unwittingly implicates him in a drug deal gone wrong. A police pursuit ensues for A-hao, complicated by the fact that the officer leading the charge is actually his estranged father.
True love triumphs over every adversity in this true-story of a man (Huang Pin-yuan) coming to terms with his wife’s debilitating neurological illness. Pushed to an emotional brink at the futility of finding a cure for his wife (Rene Hou), he sets out to reclaim hope by taking one final special journey together. Modifying his wife’s wheelchair they set out on foot with the mission to travel around Taiwan. They embark on a spiritual journey to rediscover their love for each other and more importantly begin to understand the value in taking life one day at a time. Rene Hou gives a critically acclaimed performance, in what critics have been describing as “touching, authentic and award-winning”. Based on the best-selling book “Million Steps of Love”.
What would you do if your town became the playground for airsoft games? Take up arms and join them of course! War Game 229 follows a group of 5 eccentric and life-loving veterans, who decide to fight back and prove to the younger generation that their wisdom and experience will take down arrogant youth anytime. It not only proves a heart-warming drama, showcasing the endless talent of Taiwan’s veteran actors, it also proves to be a rather fast-paced action film.
This brave and unique film conveys some of the key social issues facing teenagers today and issues of which are universal in nature. Two friends push the boundaries of their youth, battling to overcome issues from drug dependency, poverty and violence. Hao-yuan (Chen Hao-yuan) used to being a high achieving student starts to buckle under the constant pressure and ongoing family complications back home. Another, Hong Cheng-yi, tries to stage a bank robbery in a moment of hormonal madness with slightly unnerving consequences. A perfect blend of tension and drama, this film will have you on the edge of your seat until the very end.
Mayday’s latest DNA world tour, filmed in Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Taiwan with more than 22 digital camera rigs, that will take the audience to a place they have never seen, – even in concert… it’s a place where performance, technology, and cinematography culminate in the Mayday Culture. Going beyond the traditional concert film format it also includes three separate stories involving a Guangzhou father and daughter; a Taiwan taxi driver and passenger; and a third about a Shanghai delivery boy. Each story affected by the lure of Mayday causing their journey to intersect at one huge concert in Shanghai, with an uplifting outcome.