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Taiwan documentary festival featuring nearly 140 works opens

05/10/2024 10:26 PM
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Scenes from Chang Chao-tang's 1979 documentary "The Boat-Burning Festival." Photo courtesy of Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute
Scenes from Chang Chao-tang's 1979 documentary "The Boat-Burning Festival." Photo courtesy of Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute

Taipei, May 10 (CNA) A biennial film festival showing nearly 140 short and long-form documentaries opened in New Taipei on Friday, offering a glimpse of the world through the lenses of filmmakers from Taiwan, other parts of Asia, and Europe.

The 14th edition of the Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF) opened with two works from the 1970s made by late photographer and filmmaker Chang Chao-tang (張照堂) -- "Homage to Chen Da" and "The Boat-burning Festival."

In the two films, Chang endeavored to use his images to depict the people of Taiwan and the land they lived on, said Arthur Chu (褚明仁), chairman of the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute (TFAI), the main organizer of the festival that runs through May 19.

Describing Chang as his "mentor," the festival's curator Wood Lin (林木材) said the selection of the two films for the opening was "a tribute" to the renowned photographer, who died in April at the age of 80.

Aside from documentaries by Chang and many other Taiwanese filmmakers, the TIDF will also showcase 10 Ukrainian works that portray the struggles and fights of Ukrainians in the face of Russia's invasions in both 2014 and 2022, according to Chu.

The selections were the result of the collaboration, for the first time, between the TIDF and the Ukraine-based Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival.

The TIDF also features 26 Burmese short films and documentaries, highlighting the independent documentary scene in Myanmar amid political volatility, Chu said.

In the "Filmmakers in Focus" section, the festival will screen 13 works by two Slovak directors -- Peter Kerekes and Viera Čakányová -- who experienced the transition from Communist Czechoslovakia during the Cold War era to present-day democratic Slovakia, the TFAI said.

The selected works include Kerekes' "Cooking History" that delves into European wars through the accounts of wartime cooks and Čakányová's "Alda," which draws inspiration from the diary and video footage of an Alzheimer's patient.

Film showings aside, the nine-day festival will feature more than 100 talks, some of which will be attended by directors, and six performances inspired by documentaries, as well as an exhibition featuring government archives and footage, according to the TFAI.

As part of the festival, more than 40 of the selected documentaries have been shortlisted for the Asian Vision Competition, the International Competition, and the Taiwan Competition.

The winner of each category, as well as the recipient of an additional TIDF Visionary Award, will be announced on May 16, the organizer said.

(By Teng Pei-ju)

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