Oscar-winning Taiwanese director Ang Lee (李安) and Greater Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu (陳菊) yesterday jointly unveiled a plaque that formally marked the setup of the US visual effects producer Rhythm & Hues (R&H) Studios’ Visual Effects Center in southern Taiwan.
According to Lee, the center, which is located in Greater Kaohsiung’s Pier 2 Art District, plans to employ 200 Taiwanese digital artists who are to be trained by R&H experts, to work on Hollywood movies.
“Kaohsiung is not only for shooting movies, but now can ‘make movies,’” Chen said. “This will allow many young people to work in the film entertainment industry. I believe Kaohsiung can become the ‘movie city’ of Taiwan and a leading center for film post-production services.”
“Ang Lee is modest when he says he is proud of Taiwan. In reality, it should be ‘Taiwan is proud of Ang Lee,’ as everyone around the world knows who he is,” she said, receiving loud applause from the audience.
She said that with R&H — one of the Hollywood’s biggest animation and visual effects companies — Kaohsiung met all the requirements to develop a mature film and TV entertainment industry and can host domestic and international productions, fully utilizing the city’s warm sunny weather, as well as its mountains, rivers, sea and harbor facilities.
“Now I can complete the vision of the sea in my heart. This place is familiar to me. For my two-year military service, I was stationed in Kaohsiung’s harbor area. Looking at the sea everyday, it let me free to have limitless imagination,” Lee said.
“I never thought that one day I could come back here to engage in my favorite work with a group of film-making partners, in this setting of sea, harbor and old warehouses,” he added.
In addition to the center, R&H said it plans to build a next-generation cloud computing facility in Kaohsiung to service the visual effects and animation industry.
Kung Jen-wen (龔仁文), a Ministry of Economic Affairs official, said securing the investment was a difficult task, given competition from China and South Korea.
Lee’s latest work Life of Pi, which was largely shot in Taiwan, opens on Nov. 21.
The film, which took four years to make, is a 3D epic fantasy adapted from Yann Martel’s bestseller of the same name. It tells the story of how a young man survives a shipwreck alongside the other survivor — a Bengal tiger.