Fri, May 30, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Cinematic exchange

In its sixth year, the Cross-strait Film Festival sees seven Chinese films playing at theaters in Taipei and Greater Kaohsiung

By Ho Yi  /  Staff reporter

Peng Lei, Dancing in the Room.

Photo courtesy of Cross-strait Film Festival

Initiated in 2009 as part of the of Cross-strait Films Exchange Committee’s (兩岸電影交流委員會) effort to facilitate communication between the film industries in Taiwan and China, the Cross-strait Film Festival (兩岸電影展) celebrates its sixth edition this year with a lineup of seven Chinese blockbusters and art-house films to be screened in Taipei and Greater Kaohsiung.

In exchange, six Taiwanese films, including Anywhere, Somewhere, Nowhere (到不了的地方), My Mandala (原來你還在) and A Time in Quchi (暑假作業), will travel to Fujian’s Xiamen as well as Taizhou and Xinghua in Jiangsu, next month.

Led by filmmaking veteran Li Hsing (李行), the committee operates under The Motion Picture Foundation, Republic of China (中華民國電影事業發展基金會) and has since cooperated with China Film Foundation (中國電影基金會) to establish the annual event comprising film screenings and panel discussions by filmmakers from the two countries.

Surprisingly, when the committee was launched in 2009, not only did audiences show little interest in Chinese films, but industry professionals knew very little about the industry and market in each other’s country, according to Tuan Tsun-hsing (段存馨), who serves as the secretary-general of both the foundation and the film exchange committee.

“We basically started with compiling a glossary of terms. For example, we talked about [Taiwan-China] co-productions, but no one knew what that entails and how it operates,” Tuan told the Taipei Times.

Huge progress has been made over the past six years, Tuan says. Co-productions are more frequently made, including director Tom Lin Shu-yu’s (林書宇) 2011 Starry, Starry Night (星空), Tsai Yueh-hsun’s (蔡岳勳) 2012 Black and White Episode 1: The Dawn of Assault (痞子英雄首部曲:全面開戰) and Niu Chen-zer’s (鈕承澤) Love (愛).

Festival notes

What: Cross-strait Film Festival (兩岸電影展)

When and where: Today to June 4 at Taipei’s Spot Huashan Cinema (光點華山電影館), 1, Bade Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號); June 3 to June 5 at Kaohsiung Film Archive (高雄市電影館), 10 Hesi Rd, Greater Kaohsiung (高雄市河西路10號)

Tickets: NT$50 for Taipei screenings, available at NTCH ticketing outlets and online through as well as 7-Eleven ibon, FamilyMart (全家) FamiPort and Hi-Life (萊爾富) Life-ET kiosks; NT$120 for Greater Kaohsiung screenings, available at ERA ticketing outlets and online through as well as 7-Eleven ibon, FamilyMart (全家) FamiPort and Hi-Life (萊爾富) Life-ET kiosks

It is also the committee’s mission to connect Taiwanese filmmakers with Chinese industry representatives such as the heads of television networks and film companies, serve as a liaison and to help out when people “run into trouble,” Tuan says.

The secretary-general also points out that though small, the festival is designed to reflect the latest trends in and changes to China’s film industry. In this year’s lineup, Beijing Love Story (北京愛情故事) and Up in the Wind (等風來) are big-budget box-office successes. Dancing in the Room (房間裡的舞蹈), on the other hand, is a relatively small production directed by Peng Lei (彭磊), the lead singer of New Pants (新褲子樂團).

A documentary based on a popular parent-child TV reality show in China, Dad, Where are We Going? (爸爸去哪兒), has generated debate over whether such a project can be considered a “film.” The TV-to-movie phenomenon will be the topic of Sunday’s panel discussion held by Taiwanese director Tsai, Chen Sicheng (陳思誠), the maker of Beijing Love Story, and Long Danni (龍丹妮), who produces Dad, Where are We Going?.

The festival organizers will also highlight new Taiwanese talent by introducing their work to a Chinese audience. Regarding China’s film censorship, Tuan believes that the competition from Hollywood has forced Chinese cinema to gradually open up.

“Before, killing was not allowed [in Chinese films], and the police were always good. Now Sweet Alibis (甜蜜殺機) [A Taiwanese police comedy featuring a bumbling cop, several murders and strong gay undertones] takes in good box-office receipts [in China],” she says.

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