Mon, Dec 24, 2018 - Page 3 News List

INTERVIEW: Producers discuss first local political drama

HOUSE OF BRIDGE:The filmmakers said they would not disclose who is working on the series due to its sensitivity, after refusing funding that possibly came from China

By Lan Tsu-wei, Ho Tsung-han, Jonathan Chin and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporters, with staff writers

The international community worries about the US-China trade dispute and Taiwan, as the only Chinese-speaking democracy in the world, would certainly interest the world, he added.

To have commercial success, a product definitely needs to be commercialized — not by making it kitschy, but by finding elements and angles of storytelling that most people can accept, Feng said.

If the local film industry is not profitable or predictable, investors will not create a business environment and local players will be relegated to contractor status, she said.

Pre-production has cost NT$30 million (US$974,000) in research alone, Wang said, adding that he turned up about 1,000 documents from the US Congress, US Department of Justice and CIA archives, as well as those of the Japanese Cabinet and Australian Secret Intelligence Service.

Among the documents he found is a secret contract that former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) treasurer Liu Tai-ying (劉泰英) signed with US-based public relations firm Cassidy and Associates, he said.

International Bridge Club is not about good versus evil, but follows the nation’s democratization through the rise and fall of politicians who contributed to the process, while adding entertaining side-plots of romance, espionage and intrigue, he said.

“Shouting slogans at young people achieves nothing; rather we want our show, which hints at real events, to make the audience think about history,” he said. “We build fictional characters to reconstruct real-life stories in a setting that accurately reflects the era.”

Even though the series depicts real events and people, the makers changed the characters’ and political parties’ names, because political drama shows are not common in Taiwan, Feng said.

Leaving out the real names would prevent litigation and leaves more room for interpretation and creativity, she said.

An audience familiar with the period and the events should understand what is being referred to even with the name changes, Wang added.

He said the directors and actors they approached for the show “loved the script, but were hesitant when considering the possible political backlash.”

That hesitance is why the show has kept a low profile as it prepares for production, he said, adding that the actors, director and screenwriters are not to be disclosed until the show is about to air.

The show could become an international hit and Taiwanese actors are in need of such a stage and opportunity, Feng said.

“If we continue to restrict ourselves to the Chinese market, we will forever be chained to it, deprived of our freedoms and the chance to tell stories that reflect on ourselves,” she added.

“Taiwan’s most important value is our freedom. If we gave that up, why would we be in the [film] industry?” Feng said.

Wang said he had been contacted by a Taiwanese businessperson in China one month after he announced in June that he was looking for partners or investors to fund production.

“When I said I was planning an eight-season show, with at least NT$800 million in funding, they agreed immediately without batting an eyelash, saying that the show was very meaningful and they would not hesitate to provide more funding should it be required,” Wang said.

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