Tourism Bureau unveils new film

PEOPLE PERSON::Award-winning director Jonathan Lo described the movie project as the greatest challenge he has encountered because the client was Taiwan

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

Fri, Jul 29, 2011 - Page 2

The Tourism Bureau yesterday unveiled a new promotional film featuring the friendliness of the Taiwanese seen through the eyes of young women, a backpacker, a family and senior citizens.

Tourism Bureau Director-General Janice Lai (賴瑟珍) said it was the first time a promotional video had been produced using the same techniques as a movie production.

“When people hear the video is produced by the government, they think it is nothing but a propaganda film, but if the promotional film is shot like a movie, it will leave them with a deep impression and memories [of the content],” Lai said.

The complete version of the film lasts 16 minutes. There are also 10 minute, 60 second and 30 second versions.

Lai said CBS TV of the US had indicated that it would broadcast the 10 minute version of the film in four different segments free of charge. People in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea will start seeing the 30 second or 60 second versions in the next month, she added.

The bureau estimated it would spend approximately NT$90 million buying air time for the promotional films in different target markets.

The film’s director, Jonathan Lo (羅申駿), won the silver award at the PromaxBDA in 2009, which recognizes extraordinary works in the advertising and promotional businesses.

Lo described the movie project as the greatest challenge he has encountered because the client was Taiwan.

“I was thinking: ‘Can we look at Taiwan in a different way, or is there any different perspective that will make us fall in love with this land all over again,’” Lo said. “So I proposed that we focused on the people, not the scenic spots.”

While shooting in a night market near National Taiwan Normal University, Lo said the film crew were about to pay a fruit vendor, but the woman declined the money.

“She said: ‘Why pay me? This is for Taiwan,’” Lo said, adding that this was exactly what moves people about Taiwan.

Actress Yuka Shimabara was cast as one of the Japanese tourists. A Japanese growing up in Taiwan, Shimabara said the cast were able to experience different aspects of the nation, from the night life to the beaches.

Mark Homeier from Michigan was cast as a backpacker. He has been living in Taiwan for five years.

Homeier said the film was so much different and better than any other promotional film because “they are people stories.”

He cited traveling to Taroko Gorge as the best part of the project for him.

“Taiwanese people don’t appreciate Taiwan sometimes. They don’t know how different and how good it is, and you wonder why people live here so long,” he said. “It’s the culture and people.”

Hannah Ring, who is entering the fifth grade this fall, was cast as the daughter of a family visiting Taiwan.

She said Alishan was really cold and beautiful when the sun came out. She was also impressed by the cute, but stinky sheep at the Cingjing Farm.

Statistics from the Tourism Bureau showed that 5.56 million international tourists visited last year.

It is aiming to attract 6.5 million foreign visitors this year.