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Documentary wins grand prize at Taipei Film Festival

Filmmaker Chiang Hsiu-chiung, center, won the Taipei Film Festival grand prize for “Let the Wind Carry Me” on Saturday.The documentary “Let the Wind Carry Me,” won the grand prize on Saturday at the Taipei Film Festival.

The 12-year-old film festival opened this year for short features, documentaries, and animations to compete against full-length narrative features for the NT$1 million top prize after it barred non-narrative films from joining the competition in 2008.

Let the Wind Carry Me follows the life and work of cinematographer Lee Ping-bin, also known as Mark Lee, who is internationally renowned for creating beautiful, poetic shots with auteurs such as Hou Hsiao-hsien and Wong Kar-wai.

The 90-minute documentary is a joint project between rising Taiwanese director Chiang Hsiu-chiung and Hong Kong photographer Kwan Pun-leung. The two had worked together for more than three years.

The documentary was awarded the grand prize and praised for presenting the passion of filmmaking in a unique way.

“I am very lucky and proud to be involved in filmmaking in Taiwan,” said Chiang, who was overwhelmed with emotion at the awards ceremony Saturday night.

Let the Wind Carry Me also won Chiang two other awards, Best Documentary and Best Editing. Chiang shared the prizes with late director Edward Yang, the first person Chiang said recognized her efforts in making films.

The honor of Best Feature went to “The Fourth Portrait,” director Chung Mong-hong’s second feature which deals with the problem of missing children and the predicament of every man. The jury said the film opens an indefinable genre in terms of its content and form.

Filmmaker Cheng Wen-tang bagged Best Director for his latest feature “Tears,” an emotionally charged film that delved into the repentance of a 60-year-old policeman. “Tears” would be Cheng’s first installment of the three; he plans to make two other films that talk about transitional justice.

Both Chung and Cheng did not attend the awards ceremony.

Meanwhile, Best Screenplay went to Essay Liu’s “Seven Days in Heaven.” The film uses dramatic approaches to portray a Taiwanese funeral, and the love of a daughter for her late father.

One of the highlights of Saturday’s awards ceremony was 11-year-old actor Bi Xiao-hai getting Best Actor for his performance in “The Fourth Portrait.” The child actor did not show any stage freight during his acceptance speech; he spoke calmly and thanked his parents for their total support.

But Best Actress Chen Yi-han for the narrative feature “Hear me” almost had nothing to say when her turn came.

Best Cinematography went to Liao Peng-jung from “Face,” while “Taipei Exchanges” took Best Music and Audience’s Choice award, and “A piece of Cake” won Best Animation and the Media Choice Award.

Full-length feature “Pinoy Sunday” and short film “Real Sniper” were both given the Industry Award of NT$600,000. The prize money is intended to pay for the digital copy cost of the two winning directors’ next production.

The box office hit “Monga” managed to grab “Best Art Direction.” A full list of the winners is available on here.