Sat, Mar 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Documentary maker donates 730 film rolls

A PIONEER:Liu Yan-ming, who has been making nature films since the 1980s, said there are not enough resources in Taiwan for people wanting to enter the profession

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Documentary maker Liu Yan-ming, second left, and Forestry Bureau Director-General Lin Hua-ching, center, hold certificates of merit in recognition of Liu’s donation of 730 rolls of film to the bureau during a news conference in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Nature documentary maker Liu Yan-ming (劉燕明) yesterday donated 730 rolls of his films to the Council of Agriculture’s Forestry Bureau, while lamenting Taiwan’s lack of resources for ecological programming.

One of the nation’s pioneers in ecological films and a frequent winner at international film festivals, Liu, 67, has produced 20 films about Taiwan’s wildlife and their habitats since his first documentary on Tamsui River (淡水河) water birds in the 1980s.

His 2014 Hawk Eagle Heroes (熊鷹英雄) won the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival’s Gold Remi Award in the TV documentary category and was screened on the National Geographic channel the same year.

During a contract-signing ceremony at the bureau in Taipei yesterday, Liu donated 730 rolls of film and 30 terabytes of digital recordings to the bureau, which is in charge of forest and wildlife conservation.

“I owe much gratitude to the nation’s wild animals and plants, which never ask anything in return,” Liu said. “The films are not my personal assets, but belong to the public.”

Given the considerable space and cost required to store the film in freezers at minus 20°C, he found it difficult to keep them at his home, so Liu decided to give them to the bureau, which could put them to better use, he said.

Since receiving Liu’s request for help about six months ago, the bureau has been evaluating how to preserve and digitalize the films, bureau Director-General Lin Hua-ching (林華慶) said, adding that the filmmaker also donated his freezers to the bureau.

The bureau is delighted to receive such a great contribution from Liu, whose oeuvre is a precious recording of the nation’s environmental changes over the past three decades, he said.

It would take between 18 months and two years to digitize all of the film, Lin said, adding that Tainan National University of the Arts has been asked to assist.

As for the digital footage, the bureau will make it available on its Web site after categorizing them, he added.

Despite the donation, Liu said he is not retiring, but discouraged younger generations from entering the profession, because “the nation has no market” for ecological films.

Most Taiwanese can only watch nature documentaries produced by foreign media, such as the National Geographic channel, while few local mainstream TV stations, except the Public Television Service, produce such films, he said.

“We only know the animals in Africa, but how many people know what kinds of animals Taiwan has?” Liu said, adding that people should pay attention to the nation’s great biodiversity, rather than just a few “star” species.

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