Do you know the connection between your mobile phone and the ongoing civil war in Congo? Or are you aware that half of the food produced worldwide ends up in garbage bins?
If not, then the Best of INPUT 2011, which is hosted by the Public Television Service (公共電視台, PTS), will be an enlightening experience as this year’s edition of the annual showcase features 10 public television programs selected for their challenging viewpoints and daring explorations from eight countries,.
The Best of INPUT event is part of the activities organized by the International Public Television (INPUT) organization, which PTS is partnered with. Initiated in 1977 by a group of program-makers in Europe as an international voluntary body that supports television as a public service, INPUT organizes many activities throughout the year, the most important of which is an influential screening conference that aims to encourage new and courageous television program-making. Some 80 works selected from about 300 entries are screened at the conference each year, and are also made available to INPUT partners who want to hold Mini INPUT or Best of INPUT events in their own countries.
“Being the only one of its kind, INPUT does not select the best productions. We want to show works worth debating and discussing in terms of innovation, the issues presented and television program-making methods and techniques,” said director of PTS’ international department Lin Le-chun (林樂群), who served on INPUT’s selection committee from 2004 to 2006.
A good example of innovative broadcasting is veteran Polish director Andrzej Fidyk’s Yodok Stories, a revealing documentary about life in Yodok, one of the biggest concentration camps in North Korea. Since no camera crew has ever been allowed to film in Yodok, where people are routinely subjected to torture, rape and starvation, Fidyk tracks down the very few North Korean defectors who have escaped from the camp and inspires them to create a Broadway-style musical that tells their stories.
What: Best of INPUT 2011 — Truth Behind Secrets (2011世界公視大展精選 — 秘密真相)
When and Where: Today through Sunday at Kaohsiung Film Archive (高雄市電影館), 10 Hesi Rd, Greater Kaohsiung (高雄市河西路10號), Dec. 16 to Dec. 18 at Wonderful Theatre (真善美劇院), 7F, 116 Hanzhong St, Taipei City (台北市漢中街116號7樓)
Admission: Free tickets handed out 30 minutes before screenings
Another authoritarian regime is unmasked and examined in Love, Hate and Propaganda. Produced by Jim Williamson from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the documentary reveals how Adolf Hitler and his regime successfully mobilized the German population for war through propaganda, including the Nazi-controlled press, which portrayed the invasion of Poland as a defensive war, and through films such as The Eternal Jew (1940), which viciously derides Jews as vermin.
For his investigative documentary work Blood in the Mobile, Frank Piasecki Poulsen of Denmark embarks on a life-threatening journey to Congo, where he witnesses the brutal working conditions in the country’s largest tin mine, which is controlled by various armed groups. Working for next to nothing, children are seen toiling in mine tunnels digging out the minerals that end up in cellphones that are sold around the world.
In Fresh From the Trash, German director Valentin Thurn travels through Western Europe and the US to show us why bananas grown in Cameroon are transported thousands of kilometers to Paris and thrown away before they reach supermarket shelves, and how the merchants’ strict rules regarding the size, shape and even color of vegetables lead to the waste of massive amounts of food.
As a self-reflexive experiment, The Game of Death by Thomas Bornot from France sets out to explore television as an authoritative figure in today’s world by re-enacting the 1960s Milgram experiment in the form of a reality game show.