THE TAIWAN FILM FESTIVAL LAUNCHES IN ICELAND
WITH TRAILBLAZING STORYTELLING
FilmTaiwan announces the inauguration of the Taiwan Film Festival in Iceland and the UK. The
festival celebrates Taiwan’s long and tempestuous history and diverse cultural heritage through
the uncensored lens of independent Taiwanese filmmakers. An exciting programme of films will
cover a broad range of topical issues that are both particular to Taiwan and also speak to a global
audience - including LGBTQ rights, ethnicity, land rights, environment and politics. As the only
Mandarin-speaking country in the world who promotes freedom of speech, Taiwan has a powerful voice to tell stories others cannot.
Kicking off in Iceland, the festival will run from 8 – 24 March. The opening film, The Great Buddha
+ will be featured as part of the StockFish Film Festival and the rest of the programme will be
screened at independent cinema Bió Paradis and IDNÓ, a popular events space next to the
Reykjavík Town Hall.
“Bringing the Taiwan Film Festival to Iceland and the UK was an obvious fit because of the strong
roots of storytelling and independent filmmaking on each of these islands. Iceland’s festival
programme is inspired by films which give a voice to forgotten places and peoples,” says festival
curator Aephie Chen.
This will be a trailblazing festival programme with over 50% of the films screened made by female
directors and the showing of a number of films which have never been released in Iceland or the
UK. Several of the Taiwan-based filmmakers will attend the Taiwan Film Festival for
post-screening Q&As, a storytelling workshop, as well as a special reception, “The Storyteller
from Taiwan” on 20 March to celebrate Wei Te-Sheng’s work.
The festival will open with a screening of the award-winning The Great Buddha +, directed by
Huang Hsin-Yao, a black comedy looking at political corruption through the eyes of two
disenfranchised lonely losers. This will be followed by a Q&A with the director.
There will also be a selection of short films starting with the The Glamorous Boys of Tang - a
gender-bending, surreal story which was developed from an unfilmed scene from the 1985 cult
film Tang Chao Chi Li, due to the censorship laws of the time.
Female director, Heather Tsui’s debut Long Time No Sea is a feel-good, family drama set in the
indigenous Tao community of Taiwan’s Orchid Island.
Three intricate and seemingly unrelated storylines are interwoven into one in Chen Singing’s God
Man Dog, a thrilling Taiwanese drama that illustrates the conflicts between city and countryside,
immigrants and indigenous people, as well as the different religions that exist on the island.
And finally a collection of films from acclaimed filmmaker Wei Te-Sheng including Warriors of
Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Cape No. 7, Pusu Qhuni and KANO. Each will be followed by a filmmaker
Q&A or a storytelling workshop.
After the screenings in Iceland, the Taiwan Film Festival will travel to the UK in April 2019 where a
second programme of independent Taiwanese films will be screened at various prestigious
locations including the Curzon Soho, DocHouse at Curzon Bloomsbury, the Starr Cinema at the
Tate Modern museum and an exciting pop-up location in central London where a number of
virtual reality film screenings will take place.
– ENDS –
The Taiwan Film Festival is a collaborative effort between FilmTaiwan and the Cultural Division of
the Taiwan Representative Office to showcase the talented and distinct cinematic voice of Taiwan
through a programme of classic and new independent films. It also aims to provide opportunities
for Taiwanese filmmakers and producers to showcase their works to Icelandic and UK distributors
with the goal of creating interactions between the countries.
Aephie Chen is a Taiwanese-born British filmmaker, based in London, and the founder and artistic
director of the first Taiwan Film Festival in the UK and Nordic countries. After studying
architecture and fashion, she has been practising her concepts and themes across set design,
costume design, radio and visual artworks in Europe, USA, Japan and Taiwan. She completed an
MA in filmmaking at the London Film School and now writes and directs. She has lived in many
countries in her life and the stories she tells are often drawn from relationships, dreams, struggles, identities and self-exile in contemporary society.