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Taiwanese Film ‘A SUN’ Is Expected to be a Potential International Feature Film Nominee for Oscars 2021
2021/01/23

After successfully landing on American film critics’ radar last December, "A Sun (陽光普照)," directed and co-written by Taiwanese auteur Chung Mong-hong (鍾孟宏), won the Best Foreign Language Feature at the Houston Film Critics Society's (HFCS) 14th annual awards on Jan. 18. It is hoped that the award will boost the film's chance of success after being nominated as the Taiwanese entry for Best International Feature Film at the 93rd Academy Awards.

South Korea’s widely acclaimed film "Parasite" won Best Foreign Language Feature at the 13th HFCS awards, before proceeding to win Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film at the 92nd Academy Awards in 2020. Having won the same award as "Parasite" from HFCS this time around, "A Sun" is expected to garner increased recognition. Plus, it was reported that the academy would expand the shortlist for international film contenders from 10 to 15.

Additionally, “A Sun” is considered one of the Next in Line Contenders in the Oscar best international feature film category by Variety, while The Hollywood Reporter lists it as one of "the 15 frontrunners in the international film race" for Oscars 2021. As of Jan. 22, “A Sun” holds a 91% Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes, and its IMDb user rating is 7.4.

Starring Taiwanese actors Chen Yi-wen (陳以文) and Ko Shu-chin (柯淑勤), this 2019 film revolves around a family in the aftermath of the son's arrest and subsequent incarceration in which tragedy ensues. Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute’s chairman Lan Tsu-wei (藍祖蔚) says that the film resonates with viewers because it touches on universal family values and addresses issues stemming from family divisions and relationships between father and son, mother and son, and mother-in-law and daughter-in-law. “A Sun” is streaming on Netflix now.

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Introducing Taiwanese Performing Arts Groups at APAP|NYC+
2021/01/23
The Taipei Cultural Center in New York participated in the virtual annual conference of the Association of Performing Arts Professionals (APAP) from Jan. 8 to 12.

At the conference's Virtual EXPO Hall, a global engagement venue set up for touring artists and companies, the Taipei Cultural Center introduces the 13 Taiwanese groups which are scheduled to perform in North America in the next two years.

These groups include the Ju Percussion Group (朱宗慶打擊樂團), Cloud Gate Dance Theater of Taiwan (雲門舞集), Huang Yi Studio + (黃翊工作室), Horse Dance Theater (驫舞劇場), Incandescence Dance (告白熾造), B. DANCE (丞舞製作團隊), Hung Dance (翃舞製作), Tjimur Dance Theatre (蒂摩爾古薪舞集), Vincent Hsu & Soy La Ley Afro-Cuban Jazz Band (徐崇育& Soy La Ley古巴爵士樂團), Small Island Big Song (小島大歌), Basiwali (巴西瓦里), Jin Kwei Lo Puppetry Company (真快樂掌中劇團) and Puppet & Its Double Theater (無獨有偶工作室劇團).



Taipei Cultural Center introduced the different groups and their touring information in the Virtual EXPO Hall, in addition, the center has also co-presented a pitch session with Cloud Gate Dance Theater, which not only improves the international visibility of Taiwanese performance groups, but also helps them raise opportunities of overseas performances.

Addressing the virtual conference on Jan. 9, U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) director Dr. Anthony Fauci noted that some restrictions may be lifted by autumn for theaters with proper air filters and ventilation in place, provided that the vaccine distribution plan succeeds.

He also indicated that the U.S. is currently a highly infected area, which may have led to heavy restrictions imposed on Americans, including artists, from entering other countries, while performances in the U.S. have also decreased, negatively impacting on cultural exchange and development of the arts industry.

Nevertheless, he encouraged the participants to keep persisting, and expressed his hope that the U.S. and theaters would return to normality.

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, invited to speak on his thoughts and reactions in the wake of pandemic outbreak, said that he has performed for school children, medical personnel, patients, essential infrastructure service workers, while all invitations to perform were halted during the pandemic, hoping to reach out to different communities through music and forge even closer relationships between people.

Ma also shared his collaboration experiences with Taiwanese Paiwanese singer Abao Aljenljeng Tjaluvie (阿爆) and choreographer Bulareyaung Pagarlava (布拉瑞揚) last November in Taiwan.

He noted that Abao's song "Thank You (感謝)" reflects the creativity and spirit brought about by the fusion of the mother tongue with loanwords. As for Bulareyaung, he observed the cautious attitude of the choreographer applying the elements of traditional Indigenous dance in his creations and came to know the profound link between indigenous Taiwanese and Polynesian cultures.

Headquartered in the Washington, D.C., APAP is the largest performing arts organization, which traditionally would hold its annual conference in January in New York. Due to COVID-19, the conference was moved online this year.


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Wish You a Peaceful and Joyful 2021
2021/01/05

Dear Friends, 

2020 has been an unprecedented year, to say the least. As we look back, we can see challenging times and massive changes, but we can also see immense growth and resilience in the face of adversity. At times, our current circumstances may make the world seem so far apart, yet we are also inherently connected.

While I’m writing this here in New York, I am reflecting on the other side of the globe. As much of the world was on pause, Taiwan had its first 10,000-person concert in August, as detailed by TIME magazine. Then, in November, The Phantom of the Opera began performing in Taiwan with an audience of over 5,000, as Andrew Lloyd Webber and the cast even made a video clip for the Taiwanese audience on social media. That same month, Yo-Yo Ma praised Taiwan in his first live performance since February. After performing for an audience of over 4,000 in Taipei, he traveled to the sunny southern city, Kaohsiung, and reunited with his long-time music partner Kathryn Stott to give a duo recital at the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts (Weiwuying). Most recently, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center launched a 10 day tour of Taiwan in December. These were all made possible by the Taiwanese people and government’s diligence throughout the Covid-19 crisis.

I also reflect on the enduring creativity, adaptability and resilience of our partnership, as the U.S. and Taiwan stood together during these trying times. In particular, our Taipei Cultural Center continuously worked with organizations on various cultural and arts projects throughout the 'Year of Online Programs'. For example, the Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei’s “Our Labyrinth” came to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Similarly, the Ju Percussion Group performed at the 2020 Percussive Arts Society International Convention, and the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan presented 'Beckoning', as well as the first episode of the Making of '13 Tongues,' with both the University Music Society of Michigan University and the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, in anticipation of its long-awaited tour in the US in 2021. In other news, the debut, live-streamed reading of Tropical Angels, was the first Taiwan original musical successfully developed into Chinese and English versions concurrently. Finally, we closed out the year with the Taiwan B-Movie by Anthology Film Archive, along with a handful of online film festivals in Chicago, Boston and New York.

As I look back on our year in review, I am incredibly proud of my homeland, Taiwan. With that being said, I am also continuously grateful for the opportunity to experience all the wonders of New York, even in the midst of such a difficult year. As a new New Yorker who recently moved here from a different cultural background, I find that I have already grown so fond of my new home, your support has added another layer of strength and inspiration for me to stand with such a strong community.

I recall reading Pound for Pound, Taiwan Is the Most Important Place in the World on the New York Times a few weeks ago. As the article elaborated on how Taiwan has become a key figure in the computer chip market, an increasingly important aspect of the global IT race. To me, besides the innovative IT industry, Taiwan is truly one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. To my friends in the U.S. and Canada, just as I am experiencing a slice of the beauty and essence of New York, I hope that our partnership will further enrich this wonderful experience for all of us both now and into the future.

I wish you all a peaceful and joyful New Year, and I look forward to moving forward with you in 2021.

 

Hui-Chun Chang 張惠君
Director of Taipei Cultural Center in New York

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Taiwanese Auteur Chung Mong-hong’s Masterpiece “A SUN” Finally Lands on American Film Critics’ Radar
2020/12/26

“A SUN(陽光普照),” directed and co-written by Taiwanese auteur Chung Mong-hong (鍾孟宏), has been named as one of "the best films of 2020" by American film critic Peter Debruge for Variety. Couple days later, another film critic David Ehrlich published a review in IndieWire, saying that “A SUN” demands serious Oscar consideration. The film is selected as the Taiwanese entry for the Best International Feature at the 93rd Academy Awards. The Oscars ceremony will be held April 25, 2021.

In fact, before the Variety selection, “A SUN” had already earned international acclaim outside the United States. It premiered at the Toronto international Film Festival on September 6, 2019. TIFF’s programmer Giovanna Fulvi says the film is “melancholic and lyrical, yet interspersed with sudden outbursts of genre immersions.” Afterwards, the film was selected by various international film festivals, such as Busan International Film Festival, Tokyo International Film Festival, Singapore International Film Festival, and Palm Spring International Film Festival.

Domestically, the film received 11 nominations at the 56th Golden Horse Awards, winning Best Narrative Feature, Best Director, Best Leading Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film Editing and Audience Choice. 

“A SUN” was acquired by Netflix in January this year. That means the film is accessible to more than 67million subscribers in the United States. However, just like Ehrlich put it, “Movies have never been more accessible, and they’ve never been harder to find.” “In a world flooded with content,” the film had sunk “into the murk like shipwrecks.” Thankfully, the film is getting a lot more attention now.

Debruge praises the film as an “epic redemption saga,” which “focuses on the dynamic between a black-sheep son and the father whose disappointment and shame risks eclipsing the young man’s redemption.” The film “transcends subtitles to address universal truths about the way approval and encouragement works in parent-child relationships.” Ehrlich describes the film as “a riveting moral odyssey that mixes elements of broad comedy, ultra-violence, melodrama, and even a splash of animation into the slow-boiling stew of everyday human existence.”

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About Taiwanese filmmaker Chung Mong-hong
2020/12/25

Chung Mong-hong, aka his pseudonym Nagao Nakashima, is a Taiwanese film director, screenwriter and cinematographer. He received a BS in Computer Engineering from National Chao Tung University in Taiwan, and an MFA in Filmmaking from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

“Chung Mong-hong has established himself as one of the boldest voices in contemporary Asian cinema. Remaining unjustly unknown in America, his films encompass everything from documentary to psychological horror, retaining a unique quality that is darkly comic, strikingly stylish, and subtly surreal.” – BAMcinématek, 2015

“As the director of Soul (TIFF '13) and Godspeed (TIFF '16), and a producer on The Great Buddha+ (TIFF '17), Chung has established himself as an innovative filmmaker, and this marks another creative chapter in his career.” – Toronto International Film Festival, 2019

Lately, he had produced another two films: A Leg() and Classmate Minus(同學麥娜絲). The former was nominated for Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Makeup & Costume Design at the 57th Golden Horse Awards, while the later got 9 nominations, including Best Narrative Feature, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Film Music, Best Film Editing, and Best Art Direction.

Filmography:

2020

Classmates Minus(同學麥娜絲)(Directed by Huang Hsin-yao)

*As Executive Producer and Director of Photography (a.k.a. Nagao Nakashima)

2020

A Leg()
(Directed by Chang Yao-sheng)

*As Executive Producer, Co-Screenwriter and Director of Photography
(a.k.a. Nagao Nakashima)

2019

A Sun(陽光普照)

 

2018

Xiao Mei(小美)
(Directed by Maren Hwang)

*As Executive Producer and Director of Photography (a.k.a. Nagao Nakashima)

2017

The Great Buddha+(大佛普拉斯)
(Directed by Huang Hsin-yao)

*As Executive Producer and Director of Photography (a.k.a. Nagao Nakashima)

2016

God Speed(一路順風)

 

2013

Soul(失魂)

 

2010

The Fourth Portrait(第四張畫)

 

2008

Parking(停車)

 

2006

Doctor(醫生) [doc]

 

 

*Classmates Minus
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FacDPq6NM6k
Huang Hsin-yao / 2020 / 122min

This is a story about four high school classmates. The storylines are intertwined with one another. Here are a middle-aged director who is frustrated with his undiscovered talents, a hard-working white-collar worker who is depressed about his lack of achievement, an idle part-timer at the Household Registration Office who is hesitant about love and a paper offering maker who is able to communicate with the dead.

2020 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival – Opening Film
2020 Taipei Golden Horse Awards – Best Supporting Actor (Na Dow), Best Art Direction 

*A Leg
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COpahiB4uOY
Chang Yao-shen / 2020 / 115min

The story begins with an amputated leg. The leg's owner is Zi-han, who passes away after the operation. His wife Yu-ying decides to find his vanished leg. During the course, she recalls how they first met, how they fell in love and how their relationship gradually shattered. Retrieving the leg is how she tries to say farewell to the man she once loved. Only after that can she begin her own journey.

2020 Tokyo International Film Festival
2020 Hawaii International Film Festival
2020 Hong Kong Asian Film Festival
2020 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival – Opening Film
2020 Taipei Golden Horse Awards – nominated for Best Leading Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Original Screenplay, Best Makeup & Costume Design

*A Sun
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bQXpreXRyc
Chung Mong-hong / 2019 / 155min

The story is about an ordinary family of four. The father, A-Wen, is a driving instructor; the mother, Qin, is a hairdresser; the older brother, A-Hao, is a high school senior following his father's expectations, preparing for retaking his medical school entrance exams; the only member who seems problematic is the younger brother A-Ho, who has been "different" since he was a child.

2020 selected as the Taiwanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 93rd Academy Awards
2020 Hong Kong Asian Film Awards – Best Supporting Actress
2020 Palm Spring International Film Festival
2019 Taipei Golden Horse Awards – Best Narrative Feature, Best Director, Best Leading Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Film Editing and Audience Choice
2019 Singapore International Film Festival – Asian Vision
2019 Tokyo International Film Festival – World Focus
2019 Busan International Film Festival – A Window On Asian Cinema
2019 Toronto International Film Festival – Contemporary World Cinema

*Xiao Mei
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q-aqXFZvCgk
Maren Hwang / 2018 / 95min

This is a story about finding Xiao Mei. Xiao Mei is missing. The interviews and memories of nine individuals who all had connections with her gradually piece together the puzzles of her life. None of them knows where Xiao Mei has gone, but all they want is for her to be all right, so everything will be all right. Featuring the unique voice of Huang Hsin-Yao, director of critically acclaimed The Great Buddha+, Xiao Mei offers a glimpse of a wandering girl’s troubled life.

2018 Taipei Golden Horse Awards, nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Original Film Score, Best Original Film Song
2018 Berlinale –Panorama, nominated for GWFF Best First Feature Award
2018 Hong Kong International Film Festival – Opening Film
2018 Taipei Film Awards –Best Cinematography
2018 Focus On Asia Fukuoka International Film Festival
2018 Strasbourg European Fantastic Film Festival - Crossovers Grand Prix

*The Great Buddha+
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=br7eRYniQ90
Huang Hsin-yao / 2017 / 104min

Pickle works as a security guard at a Buddha statue factory at night. His favorite pastime is to read porn magazines and watch TV with his best pal Belly Button. One day, out of boredom, they grab the dash cam of Pickle's boss and watch the recordings. Pickle and Belly Button soon realize that they have not only intruded a man's private life but also witnessed his dirty little secrets that will trigger a chaotic chain reaction.

2018 selected as the Taiwanese entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards
2018 MoMA & Film Society of Lincoln Center’s New Directors / New Film
2017 Toronto International Film Festival – Winner of NETPAC
2017 Taipei Golden Horse Awards –Best Cinematography
2017 Tokyo International Film Festival
2017 Busan International Film Festival
2017 Vancouver International Film Festival

*God Speed
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GD_Fbkr88a0
Chung Mong-hong / 2016 / 111min

A sadsack slacker and small-time crook (Na Dow) is tasked by a taciturn mob boss to traffic a package down south; unable to find a proper means of transport, he is practically forced by old cabbie Lao Xu (Hong Kong comedy legend Michael Hui) to be his fare for the cross-country journey. What ensues is a postmodern reinvention of the comedic double act as the pair of unsuspecting drug mules incessantly bicker over money, share strange anecdotes about the meaning of life, and suffer an endless run of bad luck largely due to Lao Xu’s chronically poor decision-making. Meanwhile, the southern gangsters they are driving toward are having an existential crisis of their own, in a bloody maelstrom of plastic-wrapped furniture, chainsaw-unfriendly motorbike helmets, and vicious dog-eat-dog betrayal.

2016 Toronto International Film Festival – Vanguard
2016 Vancouver international Film Festival – Dragons & Tigers
2016 Taipei Golden Horse Awards – Best Art Direction
2016 Hong Kong Film Awards – Best Film From Mainland And Taiwan
2016 Tokyo International Film Festival – World Focus
2016 Seattle International Film Festival – Asian Crossroads
2016 Edinburgh International Film Festival – World Perspectives
2016 Melbourne International Film Festival

*Soul
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkMf75xl44I
Chung Mong-hong / 2013 / 111min

A-Chun is a quiet thirty-year-old who works as a chef in a Japanese restaurant in Taiwan. One day, without apparent reason, he falls into a coma, and wakes up in a strange mental state. As if under a spell, he doesn’t respond to any external stimulus, and doesn’t speak or eat. He is taken back to the mountains, the place where his father lives and grows orchids. His father and sister are puzzled—until violence explodes within and around A-Chuan, setting off a series of unexpected events. A fascinating and chilling psychological thriller of demonic possession and the mysterious happenings surrounding it, Soul probes a father-son relationship shattered by a foreign presence and unspoken family secrets.

2013 Toronto International Film Festival
2013 Chicago International Film Festival
2013 Tokyo International Film Festival
2013 Taipei Golden Horse Awards – Best Sound Effects
2013 Taipei Film Awards – Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor, Best Cinematography, Best Music

*The Fourth Portrait
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdRmNK0P_Cw
Chung Mong-hong / 2010 / 105min

“Caught between his prostitute mother and abusive stepfather, ten-year-old Xiang serves as a stoic witness to the cruelty and deception of the adult world. His only means of expression are the disturbing drawings he shares with his teacher — images which also contain clues to a family secret he has long been shouldering on his own. Deftly balancing pitch-black tragedy with surprising moments of warmth and humor, The Fourth Portrait reflects the complexity of rural Taiwan’s dark underbelly.” – Film at Lincoln Center

2010 Taipei Golden Horse Awards – Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, the Outstanding Taiwanese Film of the Year, FIPRESCI Prize
2010 Valladolid International Film Festival – Best Director of Photography
2010 Vancouver International Film Festival
2010 Hawaii International Film Festival
2010 Nantes Festival of the Three Continents 2010 – Audience Choice
2010 Locarno Film Festival – Official Competition
2010 Busan International Film Festival – A Window on Asian Cinema
2010 Tokyo International Film Festival –Taiwanese Cinema Renaissance: New Breeze of the Rising Generation
2010 Taipei Film Festival – Opening Film
2010 Taipei Film Awards – Best Narrative Feature, Best Actor

*Parking
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbJsFhiIecI&list=PLdBiL3yzKroUGRyRyXllJOp-u_eSoHiw9&index=88
Chung Mong-hong /2008 /112min

On Mother’s Day, Chen Mo goes to a bakery to buy dessert for his wife, only to find his car blocked in by a double-parked car. As Chen searches for the car’s owner in the nearby apartment buildings, he comes across a variety of strangers and their secrets: a broken family of an old couple and a little girl (and absent parents), a retired gang leader turn barber, a Taiwanese pimp and his mainland Chinese prostitute girlfriend, a tailor form Hong Kong on the run. In fact, Chen and his wife are also stranger to each other, long wanting to have a child without success. In the span of an evening of chance encounters, communications and conflicts, the film paints a picture of the urban life and other characters. At the end of the adventure, he and his wife have a new hope, a child.

2008 Cannes Film Festival – Un Certain Regard
2008 Vancouver International Film Festival
2008 Busan International Film Festival
2008 Golden Horse Awards – Best Art Direction award, FIPRESCI Prize
2009 Taipei Film Awards – Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best New Talent awards 

*Doctor
Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3gAa_XFDX0
Chung Mong-hong / 2006 / 95min

On US Independence Day, 1996, Taiwanese-American 13-year-old genius Felix posted a puzzling notice on his bedroom door. Three hours later, he had ended his own life. Devastated, his father, Dr. Wen, left Iowa City, his home of twenty years, and moved to Miami. Though the sunny, warm clime and passage of time have distanced him from the traumatic experience, his grief and perplexity linger. Six years after Felix’s death, a boy from Peru, Sebastian, comes to receive treatment for cancer from Dr. Wen. Through the stories of the two adolescents and Dr. Wen’s loving concern for them, the documentary portrays with touching compassion the transience, struggles, mysteriousness, and preciousness of life.

2008 MoMA’s Documentary Fortnight
2007 Visions du Reel International Film Festival
2006 Taiwan International Documentary Festival – Merit Prize for Asian Vision Competition
2006 Golden Horse Awards – nominated for Best Documentary
2006 Taipei Film Awards – Best Documentary Award 

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Call for Application: Creative Expo Taiwan 2021, until Jan. 18th
2020/12/22

Creative Expo Taiwan was first organized in 2010. Through a number of key transformations, CET has now become the most important display and trade platform of cultural and creative merchandise and image licensing in Taiwan. In recent years, CET has introduced the concept of curation to guide the development of cultural trends in Taiwan and inspire citizens’ thoughts on cultural issues. With a dual-emphasis on cultural curatorial exhibitions and trade fairs, CET aims to drive the development of the cultural economy through cultural value.

In the post-pandemic era, CET 2021 focuses on the themes of “Interdisciplinary Thinking of Cultural Content” and “Introduction of Smart Technology” to present three primary exhibitions halls, “Cultural Concept/Hushan1914-Creative Park”, “Merchandise Trading/Songshan Culture and Creative Park.” and “Licensing/Taipei Expo Park-Expo Dome.” CET also expands to integrate virtual channels to move towards becoming an expo of the “new format,” displaying Taiwan’s unique lifestyle aesthetics and design thinking.

3 Reasons for Attending the 2021 Creative Expo Taiwan:
Grasping post-pandemic business opportunities
The best way to meet buyers all over the world
A must-see exhibition for the media and the general public

Schedule
Shongshan Culture and Creative Park / Taipei Expo Park-Expo Dome
2021.04.21        10:00-18:00   Buyers Day
2021.04.22        10:00-18:00   Buyers Day / Public Day
2021.04.23-24   10:00-20:00   Buyers Day / Public Day
2021.04.25        10:00-17:00   Buyers Day / Public Day

Exhibition Content
@Shongshan Culture and Creative Park / Design&Craft
HOMEFurniture, wall décor, lighting, table décor, tableware, herbal fragrances, tea sets, eating utensils, other household utensils
GIFTStationery, gifts, toys, headphones, audio, innovative derivative products
FASHIONAccessories, bags, textile, eyewear, shoes, hats, other fashion accessories

@Taipei Expo Park-Expo Dome / Licensing
CHARACTERCharacters licensing, agent, IP character peripheral products, international organizations
ARTPicture books, publisher, culture & art, printing design, illustration peripheral products, design services

Exhibitor Eligibility
1. Foreign businesses from countries/areas with import permits by the Taiwan government can submit their applications directly.
2. Foreign businesses from countries/areas without import permits by the Taiwan government can submit their applications through their Taiwanese sales agents, dealers, branch offices, or liaison offices. Sales agents should provide authorization letter or agency agreement for the organizer to verify.

Application Dates
Early Bird: January 4 (Thu), 2021
Regular application: January 18 (Fri), 2021

More Info & Online Registration: https://creativexpo.tw/en/news/view?t=1&p=249

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Anthology Film Archive to Present “TAIWAN B-MOVIES” Series, Shining a Spotlight on an Overlooked Era of Taiwanese Cinema History
2020/11/26

From December 2nd to 15th, Anthology Film Archive in New York will present “Taiwan B-Movies” series, featuring five representative films and the 2005 documentary TAIWAN BLACK MOVIES(台灣黑電影), online for free. The series shine a spotlight on a realm of Taiwanese cinema that has been largely overlooked. Statistics show that a total of 117 of these genre films were released as crime films between 1979 and 1983. “Taiwan B-Movies” succeeded in short time but disappeared quickly. Accordingly, “New Taiwan Cinema” era has come with renowned reputation since 1980s.

Five Taiwan B-movies includes NEVER TOO LATE TO REPENT(錯誤的第一步, 1979), THE LADY AVENGER(瘋狂女煞星, 1981), ON THE SOCIETY FILE OF SHANGHAI(上海社會檔案, 1981), WOMAN REVENGER(女性的復仇, 1982), and THE CHALLENGE OF THE LADY NINJA(女忍者, 1983). The genre films were mostly based on appalling true stories, involving gangster, violence and sex. The victimization of women is also a key theme throughout many of the films, giving rise to a sub-genre of shockingly frank rape-revenge films. These films were so visually stunning that dominated Taiwan’s domestic box office at that time.

TAIWAN BLACK MOVIES’ producer Kelly Yang once said that, “It is useful to recall the historical context in which the Taiwanese B-movie emerged. During the late 70s and early 80s, Taiwan was undergoing a transitional crisis as political power shifted away from the aging CHIANG Kai-Shek, who eventually died in 1975. As the world suffered the Second Oil Shock of 1979, and the U.S. ended its official relations with Taiwan, the country saw the rise of political opposition to the ruling Nationalist Party that resulted in the Formosa Incident and the subsequent murders of an opposition politician’s family…As a result, Taiwanese society was swept by anxiety and restlessness. NEVER TOO LATE TO REPENT, released in 1979, was the first film to feature prison and prostitution in the story’s setting. Its dark imagination and interpretation of crime reflected a sense of people’s collective fear. Two years later, ON THE SOCIETY FILE OF SHANGHAI (1981) ’s visual impact of rape, nudity and brutality was a direct echo of Taiwanese society’s underlying fear of being dominated by the powerful.”

For better understanding the historical background of the Taiwan B-Movies, Anthology Film Archive invites TAIWAN BLACK MOVIES’ director Hou Chi-jan, producer Kelly Yang, film critic Cho Ting-wu, as well as contemporary artist Su Hui-yu to talk to the audience in pre-recorded introductions. Su’s latest work “The Women's Revenge” happens to be inspired by Taiwan B-movies. The artist reimagines the films and incorporates his childhood memory of watching these films, creating a newly conceived revenge plan in 2020.

“Taiwan B-Movies” has been co-organized by the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute (TFAI) and Taiwan Cinema Toolkit, and is supported by the Taipei Cultural Center of TECO in New York. For more information, please visit Anthology Film Archive's website: Anthology Film Archives : Film Screenings.

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