Director Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖) yesterday said that filming of the much-anticipated baseball movie Kano was recently completed, and he is currently undertaking post-production work ahead of its planned release in theaters at the start of next year’s Lunar New Year holidays.
In his capacity as executive producer, the 43-year-old discussed the film’s progress during a press conference in Taipei yesterday.
“It’s about the passion and commitment of Taiwanese youth for baseball. We want to capture their spirit and love of the game in this film. I’m quite satisfied with the footage we’ve shot so far,” he said.
The Tainan-born director revealed that he currently has three-and-a-half hours of footage that he is working hard to process, edit and trim down to a three-hour long movie.
Wei also announced that he is putting together a 30-second trailer for Kano to whet the appetite of film-goers and drum up publicity for the movie.
He said the trailer will be shown for the first time on June 2 at Sinchuang Stadium in New Taipei City (新北市) as part of the pre-game program for the finals of this year’s E. Sun Cup tournament, the nation’s annual high school baseball championship competition.
The director gained prominence for his popular blockbusters Cape No. 7 (海角七號) and Seediq Bale (賽德克．巴萊).
“Competitions such as the E. Sun Cup have provided a springboard for many young Taiwanese to get noticed and play abroad. For others, they could be playing their last baseball game. All players go into these games fully committed and give everything they have,” Wei said.
“This fighting spirit to win for the honor of their teams and schools is the pure and simple power of baseball. It is about the simple and pure actions of hitting the ball [as a batter] and catching the ball [as a fielder],” he said.
Wei said the young players at the forthcoming E. Sun Cup tourney will be carrying on the tradition and spirit of the “Kano” team of the 1930s.
“The players work hard to pursue their dream of baseball honor and glory on the diamond. They are showing the world the Taiwanese enthusiasm and passion for baseball,” he said.
Wei said Kano was mostly shot on location in Chiayi, Greater Tainan and Greater Kaohsiung, with some scenes also shot in Greater Taichung.
Ballparks, schools and reconstructed street scenes depicting Taiwanese towns and villages of the 1930s will form the backdrop to the movie.
Wei thanked the high-school players at the event yesterday, as many of them had roles as extras during the shooting of the movie.
The film is set during the Japanese colonial era and charts the achievements of the “Kano” team from the then-Chiayi Agriculture and Forestry High School, which was upgraded to become National Chiayi University in 2000, after the city’s technical college and teacher training colleges were combined.
Led by their Japanese head coach, Kondo Hyotaro, the team overcame the odds to advance to the finals of the 17th annual Koshien tournament in 1931.
The team was said to have embodied diligence, teamwork and harmony among ethnic groups during the era, as the squad was composed of players with Taiwanese, Japanese, Aboriginal and Pingpu (Plains Aboriginal) ethnic backgrounds.
The top 18 high-school teams from around the nation will compete in the current E. Sun Cup tournament, which begins in Chiayi City today, and will go on for two weeks, with the semi-finals and final on the weekend of June 1 and June 2.