The government “did not set a bottom line” in negotiations with the Venice Film Festival over the labeling of the country of origin for the Taiwanese film Seediq Bale (賽德克巴萊) as “China, Taiwan,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Timothy Yang (楊進添) said yesterday.
“We thought the reference [China, Taiwan] was strange and not one that really represented the Republic of China, Taiwan,” Yang said when asked by reporters whether the ministry had asked director Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖) what his bottom line was for the name of the country of production, as Wei had said on Tuesday.
“No, we did not ask [Wei] this,” Yang said.
Seediq Bale is one of 22 feature films holding their world premieres at the festival in competition for the Golden Lion award.
On the festival’s Web site, the film is labeled a “China, Taiwan” production in the list of feature films being shown, while the list of countries represented at the 68th Venice International Film Festival has Taiwan listed simply as “Taiwan.”
The Government Information Office (GIO) and the film’s producer, ARS Film Production (果子電影公司), both wrote letters last month demanding the country citation be corrected.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Chu Wen-ching (朱文清), director of the GIO’s Motion Picture Affairs Department, did not deny that the film festival was under pressure from Beijing to label the film as a “China, Taiwan” production.
There were previous cases where the festival organizer changed an incorrect label on Taiwanese-made films in response to protests by Taiwan, but then reverted to the original, incorrect label after China lodged a protest against the change, he said.
Based on the 1930 Wushe Incident (霧社事件), Seediq Bale tells the story of an uprising led by Mona Rudao, an Aboriginal of the Sediq tribe, against the Japanese colonial government.
ARS Film Production had said that the film was a pure -Taiwanese-made film because none of its funding came from China and it did not use any Chinese actors.
The film is scheduled to be released in Taiwan next month under the title Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (彩虹戰士:賽德克巴萊).