“Re-encounter Reality” - Taiwan International Documentary Festival Kicked off Tonight!

The 9th Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF) opened today (9th October). 134 documentaries will be shown in more than 240 screenings in the following eleven days. Along with ten forums and more than a hundred after screening discussions with filmmakers and guests attendance. It is the first time that the TIDF has been expanded to such an unprecedentedly large scale. The Minister of Culture, Ms Lung Ying-tai, was present at the opening ceremony, together with the directors from China, South Korea and Germany, Japan, whose films are in competition and representatives from Cinema du Réel and Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, they formally announced and celebrated the start of the Festival.
Ms Lung, the Culture Minister, mentioned that documentary was a symbol of freedom and liberation, and “from the development of documentary one can tell if people are allowed to express themselves freely in society.” In this edition, in addition to the International and Taiwanese Competitions, Asian Vision Competition and Chinese Documentary Awards have been established. Ms Lung expects the TIDF to develop a network with other international film festivals, dedicating itself to promoting Taiwanese documentary on the international stage.
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The opening film, The Wages of Resistance: Narita Stories, a documentary about the anti-Narita Airport protest in 1966, has its world premiere at the TIDF tonight. One of directors, Otsu Koshiro, was arrested for filming the protest in the 1960’s. Forty-five years later, he went back to the old battlefield to reflect upon what happened before. Through the lenses, we see the planes take off and land at Narita Airport, and the daily lives of the residents who refuse to move. Clips of Ogawa Shinsuke’s Sanrizuka series, photos by the famous photographer Kitai Kazuo and the previously unseen footage are inserted in the film. Although director Otsu, at a ripe old age of eighty-two could not be present due to his health condition, another director Daishima Haruhiko was present at the ceremony. In his speech, he mentioned that there had been so many protests this year around the world such as the Sunflower Student Movement in Taiwan and the Umbrella Revolution in Hong Kong. The Wages of Resistance depicts the most aggressive farmers’ movement, and it is believed that their influence in the past five decades must have brought us reflection and contrast to what is happening now.
TIDF Programme Director, Wood Lin, expresses that from this year onwards “re-encounter reality” will remain the core philosophy of the festival. “Re-encounter” means that we are to fully understand the past before biding farewell to it, and at the same time, hoping to lead the audiences to see the core spirit of documentary – reality, with fresh eyes. Lin quotes 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.”
From 9th to 19th October, the screenings will be held at SPOT Huashan Cinema, Shin Kong Cineplex, Fuzhong 15 and Taiwan Film Institute. During the festival, around seventy filmmakers are invited to Taipei. The most notable strands at the TIDF include Retrospective: Ogawa Production – 11 Flowers of Movement Cinema; Director in Focus: Alan Berliner, the American heavy-weight director who is known for his collage films; Salute! Independent Documentaries in China, which shows the most daring documentaries from the four major independent film festivals in China; Documentary: Inter-view that select several masters’ exploration in their memories and in reality; Stranger than Documentary is a collection of the most experimental and innovative documentary shorts; Taiwan Spectrum: When Camera Comes in Between presents a series of Taiwanese agricultural propaganda made between 1951 and 1965 which exams the changes in the Taiwanese history. In addition, the digitally restored version of the renowned Taiwanese photographer Deng Nan-gang’s 8mm films made between 1935 and 1941 will have its world premiere at the TIDF.
During the Festival, an in-depth talk on film is held daily and open to the public. For more details, please visit: www.tidf.org.tw