Euthanasia and the descendants of high-ranking Nazi officers are among the thought-provoking subjects presented in the nine public television programs currently showing at the Best of INPUT 2012, an annual event hosted by the Public Television Service (公共電視台, PTS) that aims to highlight television programs that explore challenging topics.
“Rather than selecting the best productions, INPUT recognizes work that stands out in terms of innovation, the issues presented and television program-making methods,” said director of PTS’ international department Lin Le-chun (林樂群), who served on INPUT’s selection committee from 2004 to 2006.
The event is part of activities organized by the International Public Television (INPUT), an organization that PTS has 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 is responsible for organizing 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.
Among this year’s lineup selected by PTS, Mega Tsunami: Hidden Perils and You Should have Stayed at Home both show how images and footage captured by citizens on the street can lead to refreshing and innovative broadcasting. Directed by Tamar Weinstein from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), the latter reveals what happened when thousands of ordinary citizens were caught in the police dragnet during a peaceful march at the G20 Toronto summit in 2010. Using eyewitness videos and photographs shot by demonstrators and bystanders, the program depicts a troubling picture of ordinary people coming face to face with unexpected state-sanctioned violence.
Real-time images are used in an equally poignant manner in the NHK-produced documentary about the tsunami that struck Japan on March 11 last year. It weaves footage that local residents shot in the midst of the disaster with witness reports and expert analysis to look back at the tragedy and seeks to draw lessons from the experience.
The genre of reality television, meanwhile, is adopted to address the heated debate over refugees and asylum seekers in Australia. It challenges people’s preconceived notions about them in Go Back to Where You Came From, in which six Australians take up a journey that traces in reverse the journeys that real asylum seekers take to reach Australia from Indonesia.
For his documentary work Hitler’s Children, Chanoch Ze’evi, a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, looks at one of the great crimes in history from a fresh viewpoint by creating a dialogue with the descendants of members of the Nazi regime. Through in-depth interviews, the documentary offers a rare chance to gain insights into the men and women who struggle with the burden that their legacy has left them and try to cope with the guilt and responsibilities that accompany them in their lives.
The controversy surrounding euthanasia is explored in Dignitas Death on Prescription, a documentary that takes audiences inside the Dignitas clinic in Zurich where assisted suicides are allowed and carried out. Audiences in Taipei will have a chance to discuss the matter with director of Jean-Bernard Menoud, who will attend the question and answer sessions.
The Best of INPUT 2012 is being held in Taipei this weekend and will move to Kaohsiung next month. For more information, visit the event’s bilingual Web site at 2012bestinput.pts.org.tw.