The Taipei Economic and Relations Office (TECO) in Australia said yesterday it had proposed to the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) that it resume its status as a “cultural partner” after sponsorship was annulled when a Taiwanese film was withdrawn by its Hong Kong production company last month.
TECO’s Information Division Director Jerry Chuang (莊正安) told the Taipei Times in a telephone interview that his office had made the pitch to the organizer and was waiting for an answer.
Chuang said the sponsorship became void when feature film Miao Miao was pulled, but when it was pointed out that Taiwan still had two short films — Joyce Agape and The Pursuit of What Was —in the event, TECO decided the conditions of the sponsorship hadn’t changed.
“We are eager to resume our sponsorship to show our full support for the festival,” Chuang said.
The proposal came amid a China-initiated boycott of the festival surrounding the presentation of a documentary on the life of World Uighur Congress president Rebiya Kadeer and an Agence France-Presse (AFP) report on Saturday that said: “All Chinese-language films were withdrawn from the festival in protest, and Hong Kong and Taipei’s trade offices both pulled their sponsorship.”
Contacted by the Taipei Times on Monday for comment before the resumption of sponsorship idea had been floated, festival spokeswoman Louise Heseltine said: “We never said the Taiwan Trade Office withdrew funding.”
“The festival receives funding from both the Hong Kong Trade Office and TECO based on the festival screening films from those regions,” Heseltine said.
However, “if there are no Hong Kong or Taiwanese films screening at the festival, then the sponsorship agreement becomes void,” said Heseltine, who once lived in Taiwan.
Last week the festival announced that Miao Miao, by Taiwanese director Cheng Hsiao-tse (程孝澤), was among the seven Chinese-language films pulling out of the festival. The movie was produced by Wong Kar-Wai (王家衛), Jacky Pang (彭綺華) and Stanley Kwan Kam-pang (關錦鵬). Its distributors in Taiwan and Hong Kong are Golden Scene and Warner Bros International respectively. The international distributor is the Netherlands-based Fortissimo Films, which has a branch office in Hong Kong.
In an e-mail to the Taipei Times yesterday, Courtney Noble, director of Festivals and Markets at Fortissimo Films in Amsterdam, wrote: “We received a formal request from the producer/owners of the film [Miao Miao] that it be pulled. As we have a contractual obligation with them and all of our producers to follow their instructions, we proceeded to do so.”
“The Melbourne Festival with whom our company has a longstanding relationship was extremely gracious and cooperative in immediately agreeing to this request,” Noble said.
Taiwan might be China’s next target after it has “walled off” Hong Kong from the rest of the world with its new national security legislation, Academia Sinica Institute of Sociology fellow Wu Jieh-min (吳介民) said on Thursday. At a seminar organized by the Economic Democracy Union, the Taiwan Association for Human Rights, the Hong Kong Outlanders and the Judicial Reform Foundation, Wu said that the legislation is simultaneously a fig leaf concealing Beijing’s autocratic rule in Hong Kong and a figurative “Berlin Wall,” denying democratic countries access to Hong Kong. Wu said it is evident that Taiwan would be China’s next target. The
SAFETY CONCERNS: A construction company working nearby admitted to negligence in the incident, and is to pay a fine and other expenses related to damages Residents of homes adjacent to an alleyway in New Taipei City’s Yonghe District (永和) on Saturday were forced to evacuate their homes after the road collapsed, the New Taipei City government said yesterday. An 80m by 4m area in an alleyway on Wenhua Road (文化路) collapsed at 10:39am near an apartment building construction site where work was being done on the project’s foundation. The incident also ruptured an underground gas pipe and tilted several buildings in the area. Residents would not be able to return to their homes until tomorrow or Wednesday, when repairs are expected to be finished, the city government said. Workers
YOUNGEST PATIENT: Cases of botulism have been only sporadically reported over the past few years, with two in 2015, six in 2016 and none in the past three years The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday reported the nation’s first case of infant botulism this year, a four-month-old boy in northern Taiwan, as well as five new cases of Japanese encephalitis confirmed last week. The boy was introduced to homemade solid food in the middle of last month, but began to experience constipation and loss of appetite on June 23, CDC Epidemic Intelligence Center Deputy Director Guo Hung-wei (郭宏偉) said, adding that he was taken to the hospital when he developed a fever and shortness of breath on June 25. In the hospital, the boy also experienced a rapid heartbeat, limb
CHALLENGER DEEP: Lin Ying-Tsong was invited by Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo to join him on a 10-hour long trip in the company’s submersible Taiwanese-American Lin Ying-Tsong (林穎聰) last month became the first person from Asia and the 12th in human history to dive into the deepest part on Earth, the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench. Lin, 45, an expert in deep sea acoustics with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Massachusetts, joined US adventurer and Caladan Oceanic founder Victor Vescovo, 54, on June 22 in a descent to the central pool of the Challenger Deep, the deepest point of the trench, which lies at a depth of more than 10,900m. The pair made the descent in a submersible named Limiting Factor, a US$37