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Taipei Film Festival celebrates 20th anniversary

By Yali Chen
 
Taipei Film Festival (TFF) is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2018 with a special exhibition featuring the development of Taiwan’s film industry over the past two decades.
 
At the opening ceremony on June 8, several special guests were in attendance to announce the kickoff of the nearly four-month event, including Chung Yung-feng, Commissioner of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA); Taipei Culture Foundation Chairman Li Yuan; TFF director Shen Ko-shang; TFF former directors Jeane Huang and Hu Yu-feng; Taiwanese filmmaker Wei Te-sheng; Taiwanese singer/actor Van Fan; and Taiwan-based Japanese actress Chie Tanaka.

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Photo from TFF
The DCA commissioner Chung Yung-feng announces that a 20-year retrospective
of Taipei Film Festival has kicked off June 8 and will run until September 30.

 
“The 20 years of TFF equals that of Taiwan’s film history,” Chung said, adding that through this special exhibition, viewers could better understand the influence and importance of the festival on the development of Taiwanese cinema over the past two decades.
 
The commissioner recalled buying a ticket to see the movie “Cape No. 7,” which had broken box office records in 2008. He found that a large number of viewers standing in line for this movie had already seen it many times and still continued purchasing tickets to support Taiwanese films.
 
“Such support from film buffs is an important driving force of our festival,” Chung said. “I hope such encouragement from the general public open up more exciting chapters for the TFF in the next 20 years.”
 
In recent years, the DCA has strived to promote the revival of the local film industry and the revitalization of the Bopiliao Historical Block in Taipei’s Wanhua District.
 
“Our office was relocated to the Bopiliao Historical Block last year because we had hoped to infuse the festival’s new energy into this old neighborhood,” the TFF director Shen said. “That’s why we held this year’s special exhibition here to celebrate the festival’s 20th anniversary.”
 
The retrospective, titled “Breaking the Rules,” looks back on the history of Taiwan’s film development over the past two decades. Running from June 8 through September 30, it showcases a series of domestic filmmakers’ treasured collection, such as a set of figurines, an elephant model, and clapperboards, as well as original drawings of characters and film set design. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

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Photo from TFF
Taiwan’s director Wei Te-sheng (seated at center) is a household name thanks to
his film “Cape No 7,” which has broken box office records in Taiwan.


Shen hopes that through these exhibits, viewers can gain a better understanding of the ideas behind these filmmakers’ creations. He also hopes that the festival continue to play an important role in the development of Taiwanese cinema in the next 20 years.
 
“Cape No. 7,” directed by Wei Te-sheng, has become Taiwan’s first domestic movie to gross over NT$200 million in the past decade. In celebration of the festival’s 20th anniversary, this film was rerun at 7:30 p.m. on June 8 on the outdoor plaza of the Bopiliao Historical Block. With this movie rerun plus the first-ever showcase of Wei’s manuscripts and storyboards, the TFF is trying to convey the spirit of Taiwanese filmmakers’ independent production.

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Photo from TFF
A set of figurines for “Grandma and Her Ghosts,” directed by
award-winning filmmaker Wang Hsiao-ti.

 
At first Wei just wanted to make an interesting film. “After receiving rapturous acclaim from audiences, I felt that I was doing a great thing because many people had been touched by my movie. Now I am really proud of my job,” he said.

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Photo from TFF
A clapperboard for “Taipei Exchanges,” directed by Taiwan’s filmmaker Hsiao Ya-chuan.