A documentary about two Taiwanese democracy advocates was an unexpected hit at the Taiwan Documentary Film Festival in Thailand, most likely because of the kingdom’s ongoing protests, one event organizer said.
The film festival, held early last month, was organized by the Ministry of Culture, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand and the Documentary Club, which was founded by Thai magazine editor Thida Plitpholkarnpim.
Among the films screened at the festival was The Price of Democracy by Taiwanese director Liao Jian-hua (廖建華), a documentary from last year about two democracy advocates in Taiwan who have faded into obscurity.
The documentary became an unexpected hit with Thai viewers at the festival, most likely because of ongoing student-led protests in the country that have prompted a greater interest in politics, Plitpholkarnpim said in an interview with the Central News Agency.
Because democracy resonates with people and they feel they can be participants, Thais are more eager to watch films on the subject, she said.
The Price of Democracy would not have been that popular in Thailand two years ago, Plitpholkarnpim said.
The pro-democracy protests and the Milk Tea Alliance — an online democratic solidarity movement made up of Internet users from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand — have allowed Thai residents to realize that democracy is closer to home than they might have thought, that it is not confined to faraway countries like the US and EU nations, she said.
Taiwanese documentaries tend to resonate with Thai audiences, who associate what is happening on screen with what is going on in their own lives, Plitpholkarnpim said.
Unfortunately, Thai documentaries are more limited in their focus and few movie theaters are willing to screen them, she said.
That factor, combined with government censorship, has hampered the documentary industry in Thailand, Plitpholkarnpim said.
Taiwan’s documentary industry seems more robust, with films exploring many topics, including issues critical of the government, which would be difficult to do in Thailand at the moment, she said.
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