Horror film 'Detention' biggest winner at Taipei Film Awards

07/12/2020 01:26 PM
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Detention
Detention's producers Aileen Li (left) and Lee Lieh (center), along with director John Hsu.

Taipei, July 12 (CNA) The locally produced psychological horror film "Detention" was the biggest winner at the 2020 Taipei Film Awards on Saturday, snatching up the NT$1 million (US$33,885) Grand Prize and five other prizes.

In addition to the Grand Prize, the high-grossing film in Taiwan, adapted from a namesake horror video game, also clinched the awards for Best Narrative Feature, Best Actress, Best Art Design, Best Visual Effects, and Best Sound Design.

The film grossed over NT$67.7 million (US$2.294 million) at the box office in the first three days of its release in the country.

It follows two high school students who find themselves having entered a realm of vengeful spirits in an empty school, set in the 1960s during Taiwan's White Terror period, while they search for a teacher who has disappeared.

The jury praised the film as a work that is unique in Taiwan's movie history and it showcases professionalism in filmmaking while opening up new opportunities for movies in the country.

Detention. From Warner Bros Pictures Taiwan's YouTube channel

"This movie opens new doors for filmmaking in Taiwan because the idea of the film originally came from a computer game, but it also addresses Taiwan's White Terror history.

"This is a direction that Taiwan can build on in the future," said jury president Wu Nien-jen (吳念真), one of Taiwan's most prolific and highly regarded scriptwriters and directors.

Lee Lieh (李烈), the film's producer, said she was surprised by the film's success because the awards' Grand Prize is usually won by documentaries.

She thanked her cast and crew for making it possible for the film to win the prizes. "You can really feel the synergy of the cast and crew, everyone worked really hard to make this movie a success."

The Grand Prize in 2019 was won by "Last Year When the Train Passed By," an 18-minute short film, in which the director asks residents what they were doing at the time he took a photo of their houses from a moving train a year earlier.

Best Actor Award winner Mo Tzu-yi and Best Actress Award winner Gingle Wang.
Best Actor Award winner Mo Tzu-yi and Best Actress Award winner Gingle Wang.

Gingle Wang (王淨) accepted the accolade for Best Actress for her role in the film "Detention" and reflected upon the cast's diligent efforts.

"I can't say that by winning this prize that I will say I'm going to work harder, because working hard and putting in the effort is something that I should be doing anyway," Wang told reporters after receiving the award.

Wang was also nominated for the Best Leading Actress award for her role in the film at the 2019 Golden Horse Awards.

Meanwhile, the Best Actor award was won by Mo Tzu-yi (莫子儀) for the crime drama "Dear Tenant," which investigates the death of an elderly grandmother that involves the tenant of her roof-top flat.

Mo put himself deeply into his role to portray rich emotions that moved the audience, the jury said.

We Are Champions. From Warner Bros Pictures Taiwan's YouTube channel

The Best Director award was given to Chang Jung-chi (張榮吉) for the basketball drama "We Are Champions," which portrays the importance of brotherly love after the siblings grow apart.

A recipient of two Golden Horse Awards, Chang represented Taiwan at the 85th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

He accurately mastered the rhythm of the film, and was able to fully present the speed and movement of sports movies, the jury said, adding that the emotions of the characters are sincere, giving full credit to the director's skills.

The film also clinched the awards for Best Cinematography, accepted by filmmaker Chen Ta-pu (陳大璞), and for Outstanding Artistic Contribution won by stunt performer Hung Shih-hao (洪昰顥) and choreographer Chia Fan (賈凡).

The Best Documentary award was given to Wu Hui-ling (吳蕙伶) on behalf of her older sister Wu Yu-ying (吳郁瑩), who directed "The Good Daughter," a film about the staggering accounts of a Vietnamese immigrant who faces a dilemma of trying to support her disabled husband and her family in Vietnam.

The film focuses on the marginalized community and records the challenges people at the lower levels of society face, presenting important aspects of current society, the jury said.

Wu Yu-ying (吳郁瑩) also accepted the Best Editing award for the documentary.

In This Land We're Briefly Ghosts. From Taipei Film Festival's YouTube channel

The Best Short Film award was accepted by Lo Chen-wen (羅晨文) for directing the 16-minute color film "In This Land We're Briefly Ghosts"

Based on a real story, the film follows a 12-year-old child soldier Su Su Myat and her mute brother, who are imprisoned after deserting their unit in a combat mission.

Punished with no food or water, Su Su Myat is forced to choose between her own survival by killing her ill brother or risk dying with him.

The film shows the humbleness and helplessness of life during chaotic times, the jury said, adding that smooth camera operations portrayed a complete narrative.

The Best New Talent award was won by Li Li-rong (李曆融) for his performance as a juvenile delinquent "Yamaha" in the 25-minute short film "See You, Sir," which centers on three young cellmates at a juvenile detention center.

The jury praised Li for his rich level of performance, reflecting unique characteristics and potential.

The Best Supporting Actor award was given to Li Ying-chuan (李英銓) for his role in the family drama "Synapses," which centers on a man with dementia and its impact on his family.

Li was praised by the jury for his rich acting that displayed accurate emotions with vivid performances.

The Best Animation award was given to director Huang Hsiao-shan (黃小珊) for the 15-minute black and white animation Grand Adventure Railroad.

The animation reflected skillful technology, while portraying a fulfilling plot structure that brings surprises to the audience, the jury said.

Best Music was awarded to Lim Giong (林強) for the psychological thriller Nina Wu, however Lim was not present at the ceremony to accept the award.

The Gangs, The Oscars and the Walking Dead. From Taipei Film Festival's YouTube channel

The Best Makeup and Costume Design award and the Best Supporting Actress award were won by Zoey Shih (施筱柔) and Yao Yi-ti (姚以緹), respectively, for their roles in the fast and energetic comedy "The Gangs, The Oscars and the Walking Dead."

Best Screenplay was meanwhile awarded to Birdy Feng (馮勃棣), Tsai Yiho (蔡顗禾), and Kao Pin-chuan (高炳權) for the film.

Yao was also nominated for the award at the 2019 Golden Horse Award for her dual role in the film, in which a pair of struggling indie filmmakers join a local gang to make money to fund their movies.

A total of 331 films -- 51 feature films, 49 documentaries, 187 short films and 44 animations -- were submitted to the awards' selection committee this year.

Twenty-nine films, consisting of 12 feature films, five documentaries, seven short films and five animations, were chosen for the competition.

The Taipei Film Awards, founded in 1988 as the China Times Express Film Awards and renamed the Taipei Film Awards in 1994, honors the best films in Taiwanese cinema, in addition to elevating the visibility and promotion of Taiwanese films, according to the Taipei Film Festival website.

The awards presentation ceremony was held Saturday at Taipei's historical Zhongshan Hall.

(By William Yen)

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