The stunning aerial photography featured in Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above (看見台灣) has helped the film to generate NT$11 million (US$373,300) at the weekend box office, more than any other documentary has made in its local premiere week.
The 93-minute film netted NT$5.72 million in Taipei alone from its release from Friday to Sunday, distributor Activator Marketing Co said. Now showing at 44 cinemas nationwide, it is also the widest release ever of a locally made documentary, the company said.
In the film, director Chi Po-lin (齊柏林), known for his aerial still photography, brings together rare bird’s-eye glimpses of Taiwan’s natural beauty, from mountains to oceans and everything in between, to forge a penetrating message about the importance of environmental protection.
“I love Taiwan very, very much, so I want to express my feelings for this land through the film. I want to faithfully show Taiwan’s land, in its true form,” Chi said in a recent promotional video aimed at raising funds for an outdoor premiere of the film, which took almost NT$100 million and over three years, including 400 hours in the air, to complete.
“The biggest goal of this film is to let everyone ‘see’ Taiwan, to know and cherish our homeland,” said the 49-year-old, who worked as a civil servant before deciding to give up his job — and pension — to dedicate himself to the project.
The documentary is narrated by writer and director Wu Nien-chen (吳念真). Nolay Piho, an Aboriginal pastor and actor better known by his Chinese name Lin Ching-tai (林慶台), also wrote and performed some of the songs in the film.
The film has been nominated for best documentary and best original film score at the 50th Golden Horse Awards, which will be held on Nov. 23.