Thu, May 07, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Director drafts Aboriginal servicemen for new film

A FEW GOOD MEN The director of ‘Cape No. 7’ is having trouble casting his new film because many candidates are performing compulsory military service

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA

The Ministry of National Defense (MND) has agreed to help an award-wining Taiwanese director by allowing several Aboriginal servicemen to take time away from their military duties to work as actors in his new film, a lawmaker said on Tuesday.

Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖), director of Taiwan’s biggest-grossing locally produced film, Cape No. 7, needs several Aborigines to be key actors or extras on his next project titled Seediq Bale, which is an epic account of an uprising by indigenous Sediq tribesmen against Japanese colonialists during Japan’s occupation of Taiwan from 1895 to 1945.

“The film will require a lot of Aboriginal extras, not to mention about 20 or 30 Aborigines who will actually play more than a cameo part in the film,” said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Justin Chou (周守訓).

However, the people who meet the roles’ requirements are almost all doing their military service, so the casting of the film is “not running smoothly,” Chou said.

Chou asked the defense ­ministry to support the casting of the film, and has received a promise from Minister of National Defense Chen Chao-min (陳肇敏) that the servicemen can take time off.

Wei said Seediq Bale will cost more than US$10 million to produce, with release projected for in the middle of next year.

The uprising of the Sediq tribesmen, called the Wushe Incident, took place in 1930 when Japanese soldiers massacred members of the Sediq tribe.

Considered the most famous and most violent of all the anti-Japanese uprisings in Taiwan, the incident occurred in the Aboriginal region of Wushe in ­present-day Nantou County.

After a Japanese police officer insulted a tribesman, hundreds of Sediq tribesmen, under the leadership of tribal chief Mona Rudao, massacred Japanese residents in the area. During the violence, Japanese residents were killed.

The Japanese colonial government then sent in troops and during the military crackdown, most of the tribal insurgents were either killed or committed suicide, along with their family members or fellow tribesmen. Several hundred tribesmen were killed.

The Sediq are Aboriginal tribe living primarily in Nantou County and Hualien County. They were officially recognized as Taiwan’s 14th indigenous group in April last year.

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