Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival 2012 puts modern Taiwanese culture on screen
The sixth-annual Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival takes place June 29 to July 1 at Vancity Theatre (1181 Seymour Street). This year, the three-day festival presented by UBC Literature Etc.—with support from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vancouver and Tourism Taiwan—features six Taiwanese movies that fall under the theme of metamorphosis.
“This year, all of the films relate to change, growth, and overcoming difficulties,” Alodie Yen, media director of VTFF and UBC Literature Etc. member, told the Georgia Straight during a news conference Friday (June 15). “We chose films that focus on everyday people so that the audience can connect to the story more easily.”
The films include one documentary and five feature films, two of which are based on true stories. They were all released in Taiwan between 2010 and 2011, and include both mainstream and independent films.
Of the six films, Jump Ashin! and When Love Comes are expected to draw the largest audiences. Jump Ashin! is based on the true story of director Yu-Hsien Lin’s brother, and tells the story of a talented young gymnast whose hopes of competing at the national level are dashed when he is required to work at his family’s grocery store and subsequently gets entangled in local gang activity.
When Love Comes, which won the Golden Horse Award for Best Film at the 2010 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, finds a young woman (Yi-Jie Li) dealing with a surprise pregnancy, an abandoned boyfriend, and an estranged family.
This year’s documentary pick, Abba, will appeal to audience members familiar with late Taiwanese singer Yi-Feng Hong. Produced by Hong’s three sons, Abba not only remembers the musical career and cultural contributions made by the “King of Formosan Songs”, but his role as a father and family man.
The last three films include Starry Starry Night and Goodbye May, which were both popular in Taiwan last year, and lesser-known independent film Leaving Gracefully. Starry Starry Night details a growing friendship between two young students, while Goodbye May shows how a love letter left by a deceased family member can change a family. Chia Chia Pon’s Leaving Gracefully tells the story of a husband and wife’s relationship when one of them is diagnosed with a gradually debilitating disease.
Around 1,000 people over the age of 19—the B.C. Film Classification Board has an age restriction on unrated films—are expected to attend the Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival. While the films all come from Taiwan and are shown in Mandarin, all screenings will include both Chinese character subtitles and English subtitles.
”Our goal is to attract audiences of all backgrounds, and we hope that through Taiwanese films, they will learn more about Taiwanese culture,” Yen said. “In the past, most people who come are either Taiwanese or from other countries in Asia. We hope that these films can help people reconnect to their culture and help bring Taiwanese film to a mainstream audience.”
Visit the Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival website for more details.
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