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'Beyond Beauty' aerial documentary has Taipei premiere

2013/10/30 21:27:37

Taipei, Oct. 30 (CNA) A documentary that showcases Taiwan's stunning scenery from the air had its Taipei premiere Wednesday, attracting 3,000 people to the outdoor screening, including first lady Chow Mei-ching.

The documentary, titled "Beyond Beauty -- Taiwan From Above," which consists of aerial shots of Taiwan's varied landscapes -- including mountains, ocean, farmlands and valleys -- taken by director Chi Po-lin, was screened at the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.

The 93-minute film had a budget of close to NT$100 million (US$3.4 million) and was made over a three-year period, with hundreds of hours in the air.

In addition to beautiful scenery, the documentary also shows how human actions and natural disasters affect the landscape and sends a message about environmental protection.

Chi, an aerial photographer who quit his job in the civil service to shoot the documentary, said that when he first started making it, people said it was an impossible task.

"But I was lucky to have everyone's support and encouragement over the years, making it possible for us to `see' Taiwan together today," Chi told the audience before the screening.

"I hope this film will remind everyone that we should get to know Taiwan and protect it."

Several big names from the film industry were also involved in the production of the film, including veteran director Hou Hsiao-hsien, who served as the film's producer, award-winning Singaporean composer Ricky Ho, who wrote the score, and director and actor Wu Nien-chen, who is the film's narrator.

Nolay Piho, an aboriginal actor and pastor also known by his Chinese name Lin Ching-tai, also created songs and sings them in the documentary.

The actor, who said he grew up in the mountains and was able to relate to the film deeply, said he got the inspiration for the songs by just looking at the sequences.

A total of NT$2.48 million were raised from the public between Sept. 25 and Oct. 21 to make the outdoor screening possible. It is the first time that the premiere of a Taiwanese film was made possible through public fund-raising.

The documentary will officially hit local theaters Nov. 1. It has been nominated for best documentary and best original film score at the 50th Golden Horse Awards, which is slated for Nov. 23.

(By Christie Chen)

Seeing Taiwan from the air