The inaugural 2020 Freedom Crossing Film Festival (FCFF) will kick off on November 6th, presenting 13 Taiwanese films to showcase Taiwan's journey toward democracy and freedom, as well as the diversity and inclusiveness of Taiwan’s society. The film festival will run 4 weeks, each week paired with one different theme, including “Crossing Borders and Identities,” “Crossing Faiths and Religions,” “Crossing Life and Death” and “Crossing History and Memory.” Hsiao Minghua(蕭明華), the founder of the FCFF, said that it is hoped these films could help the audience to expand their imaginations about freedom. All the films are available to stream online in the U.S. and Canada.
The festival will open with the remastered classic Wheel of Life(大輪迴,1983), a pioneering film about a love triangle spanning three lifetimes, transcending the borders of time and space. The film illustrates the theme of the first week -- “Crossing Borders and Identities,” under which the festival will also screen ISVARA The Art and Life of Yu-Yu YANG(呦呦自在楊英風, 2018) and The Immortals’ Play(神戲, 2016) to offer a glimpse into the lives of artists who live in different countries.
On the second week, the festival will delve into Taiwan’s religious freedom and diversity under the theme of “Crossing Faiths and Religions.” With the screenings of Dialogue with Beliefs(與信仰對話, 2018), Tsunma,Tsunma: My Summer with the Female Monastics of the Himalaya(尊瑪、尊瑪：我和她們在喜馬拉雅山的夏天, 2019), The Shepherds(牧者,2017) and The Path of Destiny (不得不上路, 2017), the audience can experience Buddhist and Taoist traditions, as well as the lives of Tibetan Buddhist nuns, LGBT Christians and aboriginal Amis shamans.
The third weeks’ lineup consists of Our Happy Birthday(祝我好好孕, 2018), A Decision(一念, 2019), and Walking Dharma(如常,2019) under the theme of “Crossing Life and Death.” From an embracement of the natural childbirth movement in Taiwan, to a discussion about whether people under certain conditions have the right to ask doctors to terminate their life sustaining treatments, to a documentary focusing on a group of Tzu Chi(慈濟)’s volunteers working silently to help the less fortunate in Taiwan, a delicate balance between life and death is expected to be found through theses three films.
The theme of the last week is “Crossing History and Memory.” The Tree Remembers(還有一些樹, 2019) and A Journey with Invisible Friends(看不見的臺灣, 2018) will be presented accordingly. The Tree Remembers re-examines the origin of racism in Malaysia and the taboo of the racial riots of 1969, and A Journey with Invisible Friends documented spiritual media, “channels” who can relay messages from gods and spirits from historical figures in Taiwan. The festival will close with another remastered classic Super Citizen Ko, providing quietly horrifying look at Taiwan’s White Terror of the 1950s, through the memories of an old man searching for a dead friend’s grave.
For more information, please visit Freedom Crossing Institute’s website: https://freedomcrossinginstitute.org/index.php/film-festival. Freedom Crossing Film Festival is co-presented by Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute and supported by Taipei Cultural Center in New York.