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Taipei Film House launches Literature Film Festival

By Leo Maliksi
Taipei City Government’s Department of Cultural Affairs and the Taipei Film and Culture Association (TFCA) launched the Literature Film Festival on May 3rd.
The festival features films that have been adapted from books, such as: The Unbearable Lightness of Being, 1984, The Inner Life of Martin Frost, and Don’t Look Back. Literary adaptation is the re-creation of a novel, short story, or poem into another genre or medium, such as a film, stage play, or video game.

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TFCA Photo
Actor & writer Morning Mo (莫子儀), right, gives a copy of his book “Sleepless in Taipei”
to Chung Yung-feng, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs.

 Taiwan actor and writer Morning Mo (莫子儀), a guest speaker during the festival press conference, plans to adapt his book Sleepless in Taipei (失眠的人) into a film. The book is a collection of his writings and in it, Mo sought to portray his thoughts as a well-known actor and as an ordinary human being.
For Mo, who awakened to the beauty of Literature at the age of 18, adapting a book into another genre is a second creation.
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TFCA Photo
Left to right, SPOT Taipei Film House Executive Director Fanyu Wu, Taiwan Film & Culture Association Executive Director Boren Chen, DCA Commissioner Chung Yung-feng, Morning Mo, and Festival Curator Yuanling Yuan at the Press Conference.

“We usually spend a month or even a shorter time to read a novel,” he said. “But you can’t make a film run for more than 8 hours. This means that viewers spend much less time to enter into the world portrayed in film.”
The second creation lies in the process of transforming a book into another genre. “If I convert my novel into a stage musical, rendering the words of the book into song, is actually giving the book’s words a second life,” he said.
“The words I use in a book could cause sadness on the part of its readers, but I elicit joy from the audience of a stage musical adapted from that book. So now, with my plan to render the stage musical into a film, I’m looking at a third creation.”

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TFCA Photo
Morning Mo was the special guest at the Press Conference.
Can creativity be taught? Or is the educational system of Taiwan (and many other countries) just meant to train students to be good workers and follow instructions? Are there measures in place to develop creative talent in Taiwan, especially in Taipei?
Chung Yung-feng, commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs, said that several measures are in place. “This year, we will complete the construction of a performance theater in the Taipei Music Center,” he said.
TMC is located on the north-east side of the intersection between Xiangyang Road (向陽路) and Zhongxiao East Road (忠孝東路). These past years, the city government has also organized classes on the production, composition, and technical recording of pop music as well as Master classes on EDM (Electronic Dance Music) composition.
The Taipei Performing Arts Center in Shilin is a venue where all artists can play and experiment with their imagination, said Chung. TPAC offers many resources for artists, curators and producers.
“Every year, the Taipei Film Commission organizes workshops on script-writing and editing,” said Chung. “We also plan to engage in cooperative ventures and just signed a memorandum of understanding with the San Francisco Film Commission on a program to guide scriptwriters go through the process of creating a script and all the way to filming. We hope that every year, we could jointly produce at least two films.”