In its second year, the Bangkok International Film Festival is taking strides to present itself as a major film festival-to-be, with a stronger line-up of movies, especially Thai films, and a newly launched domestic market for films to oil the wheels of movie businesses at the festival. \nAt the Siam Center, a large shopping mall and multiplex in the middle of Bangkok, locals and international guests praised Thai films such as Overture and Okay Baytung. \nAnd in the outskirts of Bangkok, at shabby noodle shops, giant movie posters of Thai films such as Wusan are posted outside the shops, just next to a poster of Tom Cruise starring in The Last Samurai. The signs are that Thai movies are getting better and the Thai film industry is in a healthy state. \n"We are trying to elevate ourselves to the more sophisticated level of an international film festival," said Craig Prater, executive director of the 2004 Bangkok International Film Festival. According to Prater, the total number of films entered has increased from 120 to 164 films this year. \nThe competition section of the film festival has expanded from one to three competition categories. They are International Competition, which has 13 Oscar-level international movies running for the Kinnaree Award; the ASEAN Competition, with 15 films from the Association of South East Asian Countries that are competing for the Best ASEAN Film; and the ASEAN Shorts and Docs Competition. \nThe ASEAN competition will be judged by the FIPRESCI jury, which is composed of the Federation de la Presse Cinemagraphique Internationale. \nThe FIPRESCI award is a regular award given at major film festivals in Cannes, Berlin and Venice. \nThis year the festival also launches the first Bangkok Film Market, a new section to create film business deal-making platform in Southeast Asia and form strategic partnerships to take advantage of growing international interests in Asian cinema. \nThere are 130 companies from 23 countries participating in the market and the results are solid. According to Prater, when the market finishes next Friday, he expects at least three big deals to be signed. \nThree Thai films have been acquired by US based international distributors, including the well-received movie Overture, a drama about a Thai musical legend 100 years ago.
It has been 26 years since Nicholas Gould hosted his last Issues and Opinions radio show for ICRT a recording studio on Roosevelt Road. He remembers the familiar ‘whoosh’ as the door to the soundproof room closes and recognizes the carpet, but the recording equipment is gone, with half of the space being used for storage. Gould is filled with nostalgia as he greets his guests, two financial writers who are here to discuss Taiwan’s post-COVID-19 economy for his new podcast, Taiwan Matters. Gould had been thinking of revisiting his old career for a while, but being allowed access to
The 22nd Taipei Arts Festival (臺北藝術節) opens tonight with three productions, a slightly scaled-down pandemic version that seeks to keep its tradition of big ideas, challenging programs and international connections alive and moving forward in an increasingly uncertain world. The theme of this year’s festival is “Super@#S%?” — as good a term as any when descriptives and superlatives seem not only inadequate, but somewhat irrelevant in a world where so many people cannot imagine being able to return to theaters, either as performers or audience members — they are too worried about having a job and their health. Technically, however, it is
Shuanglianpi (雙連埤) is both a Hakka outpost and a place of great ecological interest. The conjoined body of water from which it gets its name is the centerpiece of the 17.16-hectare Shuanglianpi Wildlife Refuge (雙連埤野生動物保護區). No waterways of significance fill or drain this scenic lake in Yilan County’s Yuanshan Township (員山鄉). During the 1895 to 1945 period of Japanese rule, the colonial authorities — struggling to secure Taiwan’s foothills — encouraged Han people to settle in areas adjacent to indigenous communities. Around 1910, a 49-year-old Hakka pioneer called Tsou Cheng-sheng (鄒成生) from what’s now Taoyuan decided to begin farming at
Wild Sparrow (野雀之詩) is simple and extremely slow paced, told through the eyes of Han (Kao Yu-hsia, 高於夏), an introspective, shy grade schooler who lives with his great-grandmother in the verdant countryside. Han has a fascination with sparrows, which are either flying high in the sky or trapped in cages and nets, providing a constant metaphor throughout the film. In the most ironic scene, a man catches the birds just to charge people to set them free again, taking advantage of Buddhists who engage in the ritual of “releasing” animals from captivity. Han takes a badly injured sparrow home and