Sat, Apr 18, 2009 - Page 4 News List

AIT names democracy video finalists

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) yesterday announced Taiwan’s finalists for the worldwide “Democracy Video Challenge” (DVC).

AIT Director Stephen Young, who presented certificates to the Taiwanese finalists at a news conference, said the AIT launched the contest in Taiwan in October to engage individuals from Taiwan in a global dialogue on democracy.

“The challenge provided an opportunity for dialogue and exchange on the important subject of democracy,” Young said. “Democracy is a fundamental value shared by the people of the US and the people of Taiwan.”

Michael Kau (高英茂), former deputy foreign minister and a senior fellow of event partner Taiwan Foundation for Democracy (TFD), said the competition was significant on three levels.

While it demonstrates the US’ soft power in promoting democracy, it also serves as a platform for young people to think about what democracy is, Kau said.

“It also provides a chance for Taiwanese people to think about the nature of our own democracy and in which direction our democratic development should go,” he said.

Announced by the AIT last fall, the DVC is a worldwide competition initiated by the US Department of State that asks budding filmmakers, democracy advocates and the general public to create three-minute YouTube videos that complete the phrase, “Democracy is ....”

Selected by a panel of democracy advocates, film scholars and AIT representatives, the Taiwanese finalists are DBC Jmovie-Democracy, Goldfish, Ocean, Democracy and Democracy.

Lee Chia-hua (李佳樺) and Chang Chia-yun (張佳筠), freshmen at National Taiwan University’s Department of Filmmaking who made Democracy, said that to them, democracy is respecting and listening to others so that everyone can create a better world together.

Lee said that through making the video, she had a deeper understanding of the meaning of democracy, especially when she had to research Taiwanese pro-democracy events.

Asked if the theme of the challenge might be a bit too serious, Chang said democracy did not have to just be a serious topic, but rather an interesting one, depending on the angle from which people approach it.

Seven winning videos — one each from Sub-Saharan Africa, East Asia and the Pacific, Europe, the Near East and North Africa, South and Central Asia, and the Western Hemisphere, as well as one anonymous video — will be chosen through public voting on YouTube.

They will be eligible for an all-expenses paid trip to the US that includes screenings of their videos in New York, Hollywood and Washington, meetings with film directors, public officials and democracy advocates, and visits to film sets and TV studios.

Yesterday’s awards ceremony was co-hosted by the Taiwanese partners of the DVC, the TFD, the Council for Cultural Affairs, Chinese Taipei Film Archive, Taiwan Film and Culture Association, SPOT Taipei Film House and National Taiwan University of the Arts.

The Taiwanese finalists’ videos can be found at www.videochallenge.america.gov/video.html

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