Mon, Dec 16, 2002 - Page 16 News List

German filmmaker takes top prize at TIDF

Taiwan's highest-profile documentary film festival opens Taiwan's market to international filmmakers

By Yu Sen-Lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

PHOTO: YU SEN-LUN, TAIPEI TIMES

The Taiwan International Documentary Festival ended yesterday with an award ceremony handing out prizes for outstanding film and video documentary works.

German filmmaker Stefan Tolz took away the top prize, the Grand Prize, in the international film competition category, with his film, On the Edge of Time: Male Domains in the Caucasus, winning a cash prize of NT$300,000.

The two second prize awards were given to Israeli director David Fisher's Love Inventory and Danish film Family by Phie Ambo-Nielson and Sami Martin Saif, each winning a cash prize of NT$100,000.

Taiwanese director Tang Shiang-chu's (湯湘竹) How High is the Mountain was awarded a Special Mention in the film competition category.

"In this film festival, we seem to have walked through the Caucasus, Siberia, temples in Taipei and an island in Bolivia. And we have learned how to fish in Norway, to lead a life as a homeless person in Buenos Aires and to climb the mountains of Hsinchu. ? This is the great thing about this festival," said jury member Alan Rosenthal referring to the films in the international film competition.

"We had a very smooth meeting. All the awards were decided without much disagreement," added Lee Daw-ming (李道明), another jury member.

The winning film, On the Edge of Time: Male Domains in the Caucasus depicts a multi-ethic male-dominated culture and a simple lifestyle that seems to have been forgotten by time.

The jury gave this film the top award because of the enormous difficulties that had been overcome while shooting in the remote Caucasus region.

Tolz expressed great excitement at receiving the award for a film he said had previously been rejected by a German TV station. He was now able to prove them wrong.

"I have to thank the people of the Caucasus for opening their hearts to my camera," Tolz said as he got ready to celebrate his victory.

"My original idea was inspired by the millennium. I wanted to find a place where people live in a different time, without mobile phones or computers."

David Fisher's Love Inventory, a film digging into the filmmaker's own family secrets, took a second place Merit Award. Although the film has already picked up prizes in Berlin and at the Israeli Academy Awards, Fisher said this award was special to him. "I remember the warm reception I received here and the good questions from the audience. Also, I'm happy to show an Israeli film that is not about war or national historical problems," said Fisher.

In fact, the filmmakers found more than just a passionate audience for their films. They also found a market, with PTS, Taiwan's public TV network, expressing interest in some of the works.

In the international video competition category, the Grand Prize was given to Katorga by Russian filmmaker Evgeny Solomin, winning NT$100,000.

The two Merit Prizes are given to Zhao Liang (趙亮) from China with Paper Airplane and Israeli director Tomer Haymann's It Kinda Scares Me, who each received NT$60,000.

Taiwanese filmmaker Zero Chou's (周美玲) Poles Extremity (極端寶島) and Finnish filmmaker Maria Lappalainen's On Edge were given Special Mention prizes in the video awards.

The two Taiwan Awards, designed to recognize local filmmakers, were given to Tseng Wen-chen (曾文珍) and Zero Chou. The former won the Taiwan Award for Spring: The Story of Hsu Chin-yu (春天: 許金玉的故事) and the latter was given the valuable Special Jury's Prize, worth nearly NT$1 million in production sponsorship for the filmmaker's next film. This includes 16,000 feet of 16mm film and printing facilities, 30 hours free editing room use, 30 days free loan of 16mm filming equipment and a NT$100,000 post-production subsidy. The substantial award was sponsored by four local post-production companies: Kodak, Taiwan, Modern Cinema Laboratory, UES Cinema Ltd and Taipei Motion Picture Corp.

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