It has been sixteen years since the Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF) was founded. The 9th TIDF has been through a major change; a permanent office under the Taiwan Film Institute is up. These changes are like commas in a sentence that allow us to take a break, looking back at what we have done before carrying on the journey.
During this rather short period of preparation, the first thing we did was place ourselves in the development of Taiwanese documentary, and from there, we re-considered the position and direction of the Festival, trying to find our roots and history. The adjustment we made was, geographically speaking, we put emphasis on "Asia" and "Chinese". In terms of the concept, we have "re-encounter reality" as our core philosophy; it means that through the Festival, we would like to create an opportunity for us to understand the past so we can bid a farewell to it, and then we will develop a new vision before re- countering "reality", which has always been the core value of documentary.
As a result, we set up new categories such as Asian Vision Competition, Chinese Documentary Award and Salute! Independent Documentaries in China. We also have curated a number of retrospective strands, including Retrospective: OGAWA Production –11 Flowers of Movement Cinema, Taiwan Spectrum: When Camera Comes in Between and Reel Taiwan 1951-1965. Moreover, there are categories that demonstrate the avant-garde perspective of documentary such as Documenory: Inter-View, Director in Focus: Alan BERLINER and Stranger than Documentary. Apart from the screenings, we hold many events for the filmmakers and audiences to meet each other.
It is fair to say that "introduction" and "organisation" are the functions as well as missions that the TIDF is expected to carry out. They also serve as the guidelines when we curate the programme. All the screenings and events born out of our endless discussion all point to the core purpose of the Festival – to "communicate" and "converse".
We would like to converse with the audiences, filmmakers, documentary, the past, the present, Taiwan and the world. Therefore if we see or feel something in the films, it may reflect how we all have felt throughout the year.
In such a difficult time, it is the TIDF's ambition to create a platform for communication. To realise this ambition, our young and passionate staff members are totally dedicated to this task, and we vow to run a documentary festival with the spirit of documentary.
We remember that in the beginning of the preparation, we sought advice from other senior programmers. One of them said to us, "I can predict that this is going to be a film festival that belongs to young people. By adapting a style closer to the young, and with such passion, you definitely can show the young Taiwanese the world through documentary, and to raise their concerns about our time.
Now as the Festival is approaching, let us quote the words of OGAWA Shinsuke, "While portraying the minds, think about the happiness we share with our contemporaries; we share the brightness as well as the courage with which we fight against hardship."
Welcome to the realm of documentary and the re-encounter with reality at the TIDF.