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The Curtain Rises on the 13th Taiwan International Documentary Festival with a Full House for the World Premiere of Remember Me
The curtain finally rose on the 13th Taiwan International Documentary Festival today (May 6th)! For its opening film, the festival held the world premiere screening of director HUNG Chun-hsiu’s latest work, Remember Me, his return to screens after eight years. At the opening ceremony held at the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, Deputy Minister of Culture LEE Ching-hwi and TFAI Director Dr. WANG Chun-chi joined the competition juries and shortlisted directors to enjoy the opening film and celebrate the launch of the festival. Director HUNG was shortlisted for the TIDF with works including Fishermen in the City (2006) and The Lost Sea (2014). Tonight, he joked that he’d never imagined he would be here having made a film about military service, given how much he wanted his service to be over when he was doing it some two decades ago.
HUNG Chun-hsiu, director of Remember Me
TIDF Programmer CHEN Wanling noted that the impact of the pandemic in the past three years made the process of organizing an in-person film festival challenging, but throughout the process, the team has considered how best to reflect the current situation, emphasizing a core philosophy of “Re-encounter reality” in their selections and striving to break down and reconstruct how we understand documentaries. This year, the festival has selected a total of 188 films, the most in its history. The Program Director Wood LIN also emphasized that TIDF is a platform for the promotion of documentaries, and the team takes a very perfectionist approach, hoping to present the best results to the audience and inviting everyone to choose a film to experience the art of documentary.
TIDF Program Director Wood LIN, Programmer CHEN Wanling
Dr. WANG, TFAI Director, recalled that after the last edition, Taiwan immediately entered a Level 3 COVID-19 alert, leaving her feeling fortunate but at the same time the team needed to get started on planning for this year’s festival. Tonight’s opening especially gave her a sense of being “real but unreal, that maybe unreality is what reality looks like.” She recounted how the TIDF was established in 1998, joined the Taiwan Film Institute in 2014, and finally launched the first edition in the new TFAI Cinema this year. The significance of being able to hold the opening ceremony in a home of its own cannot be overstated. LEE Ching-hwi, Deputy Minister of Culture, was also in attendance, being in awe after watching TIDF’s opening film last year, Inside the Red Brick Wall, adding that at a time when the world is plagued by pandemic and war, it is important to keep a pure heart.
TFAI Director Dr. WANG Chun-chi, Deputy Minister of Culture LEE Ching-hwi
Remember Me follows three protagonists whose lives have been deeply related to Kinmen for different reasons, using a large number of photos and archival footage to parallel the past and present and explore different life trajectories as the geopolitical situation across the Taiwan Strait has been changing. This film is in the shortlist for the Taiwan Competition. The results of this competition will be announced at the awards ceremony on May 12th, together with 11 awards in Asian Vision, International Competition, and TIDF Visionary Awards. The award-winning titles will be screened again on May 15th—don’t miss it!
HUNG Chun-hsiu, director of Remember Me and his family
TIDF has a total of 12 sections in this edition, a 10-day visual feast for the audiences. This year, the program “Filmmaker in Focus: William KENTRIDGE” explores the profound insights of this important contemporary South African artist; the Focus Program “Necessary Fictions: Negotiating Realities in Post-national Philippine Documentaries” juxtaposes classics and more recent works, giving the audience a glimpse into the creative trajectory of Philippine independent films; and “Stranger than Documentary: the Potential Future” shows how creators in the pandemic era continue to reflect life through images while also exploring and imagining the future. “Malleable Docu/Memory: Archival/Found Footage and More” visits the creative use of archival and found footage in depicting and interpreting memory in documentary filmmaking.
The section “Contemporary Scenes” brings together the latest masterpieces of documentary masters to provide insight into the realities of our world; “Salute! Chinese Independent Documentaries” has assembled important contemporary documentaries in a showcase of the creative dynamics of China and Hong Kong; the Taiwan Spectrum section entitled “Triviality that Speaks Volumes: Personal Cinema of Female Directors Since the 1990s” traverses the history of Taiwanese documentary with a focus on female perspectives that have been suppressed and neglected in the narrative tradition of “HIStory” and on the various restraints imposed on women; “Reel Taiwan: A Selected Series of the Portrait of Hundred Occupations (1986–1991)” showcases the earliest “professional” documentary programs in Taiwan, which will be shown in the form of an exhibition on the first floor of the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute during the festival.
The 13th Taiwan International Documentary Festival will be held from May 6th to May 15th at the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, Vie Show Cinemas Taipei Qsquare, SPOT Huashan, and the Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab. In addition to screening 188 outstanding documentaries and holding 72 post-screening discussions, the festival organized two Master Classes, two online panels, and two online talks. For the latest news and information, please follow the TIDF official website, Facebook page, and Instagram.