Sat, Aug 17, 2013 - Page 12 News List

The old men and the sea

A collaboration between PTS and filmmakers from the UK, ‘A Town Called Success’ tells the story of a group of harpoon fishermen in Taitung who rely on the traditional fishing methods to haul in the catch

by Ho Yi  /  Staff reporter

Smith describes their shooting on the boat as “physical filming,” as the narrow space makes their work extremely difficult, and the hours spent with the fishermen chasing after one of the fastest fish in the world, which can swim at 80km to 100km per hour, were both exciting and exhausting.

Technology aside, Smith says that the collaboration with PTS allowed him to “go back to a much more purist approach to filmmaking,” whereas much of his previous work focused on “much more factual entertainment and creating drama, creating a situation where you script the story for the audience.”

Smith’s first collaboration with PTS was the 2011 A Year in the Clouds (司馬庫斯), an award-winning documentary about the Atayal (泰雅) village of Smangus (司馬庫斯) deep in the lush mountains of Hsinchu County (新竹縣).

“The stories we did in A Year in the Clouds and A Town Called Success are much more about just letting audiences into a way of life that most audiences will never get to see,” the director says.

“I think it’s very essential documentary-making to understand what’s happening to other cultures, to other societies because it affects us all.”

A Town Called Success will be aired on PTS HD channel today at 12pm and 7:30pm. More information can be found at

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