President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday discussed the recent blooming of the Taiwanese film industry with film director Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖) ahead of next month’s release of his epic film Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale (彩虹戰士:賽德克巴萊), encouraging filmmakers to be more innovative in order to attract larger cinema audiences with Taiwanese films that explore a diverse range of issues.
In his weekly online speech, Ma invited Wei to share his experience as a promising film director, and praised his efforts in introducing the wider world to Taiwanese history via the film.
The film, a depiction of an uprising led by Mona Rudao, leader of a Sediq Aboriginal tribe, against the Japanese colonial government, is based on the Wushe Incident in 1930.
“The Wushe Incident is a well-known event in Taiwanese history that touches on many complicated issues. I learned about the incident mainly from written depictions and a few old photos. Now, thanks to Director Wei, that piece of our history is recovered through filmmaking,” Ma said.
Wei, whose debut film Cape No. 7 (海角七號) became a blockbuster hit in 2008, making about NT$530 million (US$18.3 million), said his first film and recent hits, including Monga (艋舺) and Night Market Hero (雞排英雄), helped establish a solid foundation for local film industry by appealing to local audience with themes related to local culture.
The new film aims to explore cultural and ethnic conflict in addition to representing an important historical event, Wei said. He also expects the broader issues addressed by the film to make it easier to promote internationally.
“Hopefully the issues, historical perspectives and scale of Seediq Bale will introduce Taiwanese history to a global audience,” he said.
The film will have its global premiere in Venice, Italy on Wednesday and is scheduled to be shown in Taiwan on Sept. 9 on Ketagalan Boulevard, Taipei City, in front of the Presidential Office.
The 4-and-a-half hour film is scheduled for release in two parts in Taiwan Sept. 9 and Sept. 30.
Meanwhile, Wei said he had decided to put off the release of the five-minute trailer until Aug. 31 as the current version is “not good enough.”
Apologizing for the delay, Wei on Thursday explained that he has been busy editing the movie’s final version and a special heavily edited version for its world premiere at the upcoming Venice Film Festival.
Two official trailers for the action blockbuster were launched in June and last month.