A documentary about a rural village obliterated by a mudslide during Typhoon Morakot in 2009 will compete in the upcoming Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in Japan, one of the largest of its kind in Asia.
The documentary, A Gift from the Sky — The Tragedy of Hsiaolin Village, Part 2 (上掉下來的禮物─小林滅村事件二部曲), chronicles the unyielding spirit of the surviving villagers after the disaster and how they rebuilt their lives.
More than 600 residents of Siaolin Village (小林) in the Greater Kaohsiung area are believed to have been buried alive by a catastrophic mudslide that wiped out a large part of the village on Aug. 8, 2009.
The mudslide was triggered by torrential rains from Morakot, which dumped as much as 3m of rain on southern Taiwan over a three-day period.
After the disaster, a memorial park was established at the original site of the village, while permanent houses were built nearby for the survivors.
The 153-minute documentary is the only entry from Taiwan at this year’s festival. It was among 15 films selected to compete out of the 1,153 films from 117 countries and areas submitted.
It is a sequel to A Gift for Father’s Day — The Tragedy of Hsiaolin Village, Part 1 (爸爸節的禮物─小林滅村事件首部曲), which shared the Grand Prize and best documentary film award at the 2011 Taipei Film Festival.
Lo Shin-chieh (羅興階) and his wife Wang Hsiu-ling (王秀齡), who lived in the village for about six months to shoot the documentary, returned to the memorial park on Tuesday to pay tribute to the deceased.
Lo urged the public to show greater concern for the surviving villagers, some of whom are still struggling to get their lives back in order.
The Japanese festival, which opens today, will run through Thursday next week.