Following the great success he achieved with the movie Cape No. 7, film director Wei Te-sheng (魏德勝) is now more confident about restarting his ambitious shoot for the film Seediq Bale.
Wei and his team spent four years researching the topic before finishing the script, selecting the locations and shooting a preview film.
“We couldn’t go any further because we were short of money,” Wei said, adding that the budget for the movie would be about US$10 million.
However, with the recent success of Cape No. 7 — ticket sales amounted to NT$60 million (US$1.8 million) within three weeks of its release — Wei is now more confident he can complete his ambitious project.
“Before, I was a nobody, now many people know my name and this should make it easier to get sponsorship,” he said yesterday in a phone interview with the Taipei Times.
However, Wei stressed that he would not compromise on certain things in order to get sponsorship.
“All the actors have to be Aborigines and the dialogue has to be in Sedeq [and Japanese],” he said. “If a company tells me that they would give me a lot of money on the condition that I have to hire some famous non-Aboriginal actors, I’d rather not take the money.”
A couple of years ago when the five-minute preview film titled Seediq Bale was posted on the Internet, it created a lot of discussion on the Internet, although at the time not many people had heard of the director’s name.
The Sedeq are an Aboriginal tribe that live mostly in Nantou and Hualien counties.
The film title, Seediq Bale, means “the real person” in their language.
The movie Seediq Bale tells the story of Sedeq warrior Mona Rudao who led a large-scale uprising against the Japanese in present-day Wushe (霧社) in Nantou County.
On the morning of Oct. 27, 1930, Mona led a group of more than 300 Sedeq and launched a surprise attack as the Japanese gathered to participate in a local sports event, killing 125 and wounding 215.
The Sedeq then cut the telephone lines and occupied Wushe for three days, before retreating to their strongholds deep in the mountains.
The Japanese colonial government cracked down on the Sedeq, using more than 2,000 military and police officers, and even used poisonous gas banned by international law.
After being under siege for months, Mona, along with about 300 other Sedeq warriors, killed himself.
“Inspiration from ancestral spirits plays an important part in their resistance, therefore I think the Sedeq were searching for spiritual freedom, rather than corporal freedom,” said Wei, explaining why he wanted to make the movie. “That makes the story very unique and interesting.”