Mon, Feb 12, 2007 - Page 8 News List

Letter: Taiwan needs a Hollywood

By Walt Brown

Taiwan needs to use its financial resources both public and private to influence the world with soft-power, its moral authority and the power of popular culture through movies.

Imagine how a popular movie featuring Chinese threats against Taiwan and the People's Liberation Army's nuclear threats against US cities would be in the US and the rest of the world.

The real world scenario which Taiwan finds itself in, with more than 900 missiles pointed at it, boisterous Taiwanese politics, communist spies in its midst and the latest Star Wars missile controversy is the material Hollywood screenwriters fantasize about.

This classic "good versus evil" struggle for survival is the stuff of Hollywood dreams and a recipe for box-office success. As a potent political weapon, a thrilling contemporary movie has no equal.

For the fraction of the cost of military hardware, Taiwan could use its funds to influence hundreds of millions of people, politicians and countries to rally behind its democracy and support its push for its rightful place in the UN and the world.

Most Westerners don't know much about Taiwan and would be unlikely to support a military intervention in a conflict with China. Tragically, more Americans care about Paris Hilton's love life than the threat China poses to Taiwan.

They do know, however, that cheap Chinese goods made by virtual slave labor are flooding their markets, squeezing them out of jobs and threatening their financial security. Despite their vast geographic and cultural differences, Americans would recognize Taiwan's democracy and freedoms as similar to their own. In this regard the PRC is a strange and dangerous land.

The movie concept is to create a fictional political thriller that crosses the cultural divide and dramatizes Taiwan's predicament based on facts, with compelling characters Americans will care about. The US public will be engrossed in the story and influenced by it.

This will be provocative. But it will also be liberating for Taiwanese to be able to expose their plight to the world in a dramatic way without the normal diplomatic niceties of international relations.

Not only would a film such as this have political power but its controversial subject matter will make it a highly profitable enterprise, perfect for private backers who support Taiwan's national pride, independence and robust democratic future.

A contemporary David versus Goliath movie with Taiwan pitted against the the PRC with real-life consequences for 23 million Taiwanese would win the hearts and minds of people worldwide and outplay the Beijing Olympics.

Taiwan has the moral high-ground, resources and hopefully the courage to face-down its biggest threat, expose its dilemma to people everywhere and glorify its image in the world. Now is the time to do it. Before it's too late.

Walt Brown

Auckland, New Zealand

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