The online “suspended movie ticket” scheme launched on Tuesday by documentary filmmaker Yang Li-chou (楊力州) to give more new immigrants the chance to enjoy his latest work, Bridge Over Troubled Water (拔一條河), has been a success so far, the director said.
Yang’s film centers on immigrant spouses and their children struggling to rebuild their homes in 2009 after Typhoon Morakot struck the nation.
“A large part of the documentary tells the stories of the country’s new immigrants [after the typhoon]. Most of the immigrant spouses living in Jiasian Township (甲仙) in Greater Kaohsiung who are featured in the film say the movie not only touched their hearts, but also gave them a sense of self-confidence,” Yang said in a message posted on Facebook on Tuesday.
“So I got this crazy idea: I want to see if I could launch a ‘suspended movie ticket’ scheme modeled on the ‘suspended coffee’ trend... I hope that this can enable more immigrant spouses in Taiwan to enjoy a film about them in the theater,” Yang said.
Suspended coffee, also known as caffe sospeso, is a longstanding Italian tradition in which customers can buy a cup of coffee at a cafe that will be saved for someone who cannot afford it.
Yang originally planned to collect 500 “suspended tickets,” but managed to gather more than 600 within seven hours of initiating the scheme.
“I would like to thank everyone for supporting this ‘minor’ revolution for the new immigrants. We did it,” Yang said in a message to netizens.
The film has received high praise in other parts of Greater Kaohsiung and in Greater Tainan, where a number of food peddlers were so enchanted by the documentary that they are now offering discounts to customers with a ticket stub from the movie.
A teacher from National Feng Yuan Senior High School in Greater Taichung is also providing a NT$50 subsidy of (US$1.68) to students in a bid to allow them to enjoy the film at a theater, saying that he wants young children to know that there are many things that matter outside their things academic performances.
The 104-minute documentary has raked in NT$8 million at the box office since it premiered on Sept. 6. If its rate of ticket sales continues, it is set to edge out Hand in Hand (牽阮的手), a documentary about love, faith and democracy, to become the third-best-selling documentary of all time in Taiwan.