New Asian Currents Invitation Films [TAIWAN]

“Floating Islands” Series

Producer: Chou Mei-lin
Source: Firefly Image Company
7F, No.8, Lane 63, Sung-chiag Road, Taipei TAIWAN
Phone: 886-2-2507-6498 Fax: 886-2-2506-0373
E-mail: firefly@ms3.hinet.net

In the beginning of 1999, independent production company Firefly Image Company invited 12 young Taiwanese filmmakers to sail for 12 islands off the coast of Taiwan. They were given a limited budget and the freedom to each make a film of innovative and spontaneous conception. After one year, the films were completed: 12 diverse perspectives and approaches shedding light on various political, social, economic, ecological, military, aesthetic, and personal issues, with sometimes a good dose of humor. At YIDFF 2001, we are pleased to present five out of the complete 12 in the series.



- TAIWAN / 2000 / No dialogue / Color / 35mm / 16 min

Director: Huang Tin-fu
Photography: Chen Li-yu, Huang Tin-fu
Music: Dino Liao
Producer: Chen Li-yu

The sound of snooker balls crashing together, flickering television programs, the light steam from a bowl of instant noodles, sweet words from a hundred dollar telephone card... Old folks waiting for a good coffin, children waiting to leave the island, soldiers counting the steamed buns, waiting to retire from the military, old veterans waiting for their next check to buy rice wine, the little dog wandering outside the door waiting to see grandma’s kind face, the lady-boss waiting to see the stock market rise, the teachers waiting for their retirement funds... Trees waiting for the wind, the wind waiting for the rocks, the rocks waiting for man’s return, and I’m waiting for the movie to end.

- Huang Tin-fu

Born in 1961. Graduated from National Taiwan College of Arts. In 1989, won a Golden Harvest Award for his film The Mirror. Other films include File 515 (1988), Bowl (1990), The Wedding Photo (1992) and Modeling Taiwan (2000).


The Paradise Island Tong-Sha, an Isle like a Crab

- TAIWAN / 2000 / Mandarin, Taiwanese / Color, B&W / 35mm / 17 min

Director: MJ Lee

Being used to a certain way of looking, listening and understanding, we are often presumptuous about our judgments. As a filmmaker, I made the same mistake at the beginning of the shoot. Just like the seven-minute long opening that resembles the educational entertainment programs produced by the Department of Defense, this film gives the feeling of a distant familiarity. It is only through the written words of a soldier that the desolate island becomes brighter and more colorful. Composed of shells and turned into carbonate sediments by the wind and time, Tong-Sha Island is an island where a large group of men are symbolically chained. It is an island that no one wants to go to, and yet think it a shame to abandon.

- MJ Lee

Born in 1967 in Yun-lin, Taiwan. Graduated from Fu-Jen Catholic University in Mass Communication. Works include Our Grandma and Her House (1989), Professor Chu’s Summer Homework: The Struggle of Women-Workers at Ban Chiao Clothing Factory (1992) and Chin-song and Xiaoshah’s Wedding Plaza (1994).


West Island

- TAIWAN / 2000 / Mandarin, Taiwanese / Color / 35mm / 35 min

Director: Chu Hsien-jer

Penghu Island is made up of some 60 tiny islands. One of them is only a square mile with over a dozen people living on it. It is difficult for us to know if it was by chance that the majority of the population had just decided to move out. There are now four families living on West Island. Two of them are handicapped elders living alone, while the other two have invalid family members. The four policemen assigned to protect the islanders are officers involved in lawsuits or other punishments. These are forgotten individuals, much like the island itself. Yet they live in harmony with nature, and happily amongst themselves.

- Chu Hsien-jer

Born in 1964 in Taichung, Taiwan. Received a Master of Fine Arts from Syracuse University in 1994. Director of documentary films and television commercials. Films include: An Artist’s Film (1994) and Happy Years (1998).


Who Is Fishing®

- TAIWAN / 2000 / Mandarin, Taiwanese / Color / 35mm / 16 min

Director: Singing Chen

The people of ancient times gave this island an interesting and carefree name. But the meaning symbolized by the island is no longer so simple. The complications of modernity have exposed the essence of the real situation. The relationship between people and land: from coexistence to labeling and claiming ownership, to losing focus of the larger common goal, characterizes the problem of the Diao Yu Tai Island. No longer just a matter to be solved by “who can prove ownership of the island, ” this film hopes to discard the blind spot of “patriotism” and start from a point where people can reevaluate the meaning and importance of “human needs” vs. “nature,” “self” vs. “country,” “country” vs. “homeland.”

- Singing Chen

Born in 1974 in Taipei, Taiwan. Graduated from Fu-Jen Catholic University in Mass Communication. Since 1997, has worked in both fiction and documentary films. Bundled (2000) has been screened at several international film festivals and won some awards.


Silent Delta

- TAIWAN / 2000 / No dialogue / Color, B&W / 35mm / 20 min

Director, Script, Editing: Shen Ko-shang
Photography: Ma Hua
Editing, Producer: Wu Su-li
Sound, Music: Lai Gin-kai

What are the islands thinking and the land going to tell us? We hear nothing but silence. The soul of these three islands has been yearning the past although it ended up trapped around here forever. The film predicts a controversy, and is an allegory of these three island’s silent struggle. We see all the assertion through the images, but there’s no conclusion—it’s only a quiet contemplation.

- Shen Ko-shang

Born in 1972 in Taipei. Graduated from National Taiwan College of Arts. Has produced several short films and television commercials and has also composed music for stage plays. Animation film Too Beautiful (1996) won many awards including the Golden Harvest Award for best animation. Works include One Table Away (1996), The Freshwater Fish Who Swam Toward the Sea (1998), and Yu-San (1999).

• New Asian Currents | Soshin: In Your Dreams | A True Story about Love | My Migrant Soul | Our Boys | Along the Railway | More than One Is Unhappy | This Winter | Jari Mari: Of Cloth and Other Stories | King of Dreams | My Friend Su | The Performance | My Mother’s Home, Lagoon | Water and Atefeh | Blessed | MAYA | Danchizake (Homemade Sake) | Variant Phases | Doomealee, the Very First Step | Farewell | Pansy and Ivy | Sky-blue Hometown | Koryu: Southern Women, South Korea | News Time | Margin | Sowing Seeds | Chlorine Addiction | Chichi, the Monster | Mixed Fruit Banana Split | Sales | The Falling Kite | March of Time | Once Upon a Time | Hummadruz | Vanished with Water • New Asian Currents Invitation Films | The Musicians | The Eclipse | Life beyond the Noise | “Floating Islands” Series | 03:04 | The Paradise Island Tong-Sha, an Isle like a Crab | West Island | Who Is Fishing® | Silent Delta • Jurors | Sato Makoto | Chalida Uabumrungjit • New Asian Currents Special | Filmmakers Information Center / Searching for New Contexts