Filmed in Taiwan: “Silence” Director Martin Scorsese Returns to Taipei for Upcoming Release
Filmed in Taiwan: “Silence” Director Martin Scorsese Returns to Taipei for Upcoming Release - Taipei Film Commission
Silence director Martin Scorsese (center) attended a press conference in Taipei on Jan. 20th with producer Emma Koskoff (left) and screenwriter Jay Cocks (right) Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese is back to Taiwan with his latest film Silence, the first Hollywood masterpiece entirely filmed in Taiwan. On the afternoon of January 20th, Scorsese attended a press conference co-organized by Taipei Film Commission (TFC) and Catchplay in Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei, with the film’s producer Emma Koskoff and screenwriter Jay Cocks. An exclusive 60-second footage of Scorsese speaking on the film’s shooting locations was shown to the audience for the very first time, triggering wide applause and enthusiastic reaction from every corner of the hall. Director Scorsese, arrived in Taipei the day before after a promotional event in Japan, said he was “very, very happy” to come back and to present Taiwanese people with his latest work, a dream project that has been in his mind for 30 years, and one he regards deeply connected with Taiwan. He had completed the script with Jay Cocks early in 2006; almost a decade later, through director Ang Lee’s initial introduction, Scorsese first scouted in Taiwan in 2014 with the assistance from TFC, and decided to shoot the film here. In May, 2015, the crew wrapped up after fourteen weeks of filming in various locations in Taipei (Yangmingshan, CMPC Studio and Beitou area), Taichung, Hualien, etc. In the exclusive clip of Scorsese commenting on Silence’s shooting locations, Scorsese revealed how he, a New Yorker, had trouble with Taiwan’s climate at first but was then stunned by the geographical beauty of the caves, mountains, and lushness he saw. In the end, he felt that the landscape even became one character of the film.
Director Martin Scorsese would like to film a contemporary story in the cities in Taiwan next time
Scorsese was "very, very happy" to be back
Jay Cocks, the screenwriter of Silence, came to Taiwan for the first time. While he was developing the script, he used to imagine Taiwan as Japan. Knowing little about this country, Cocks is now ready to discover Taiwan for itself and experience the dynamism of Taipei City. Producer Emma Koskoff, who had spent 8 months in Taiwan from the pre-production stage to the final wrap-up in 2015, greeted the press in mandarin and wished all a happy new year. Koskoff was proud and “emotional” to return to this “extraordinary country” with the completed film, and even felt a strong nostalgia. Remembering how she managed to work with the international crew in 5 languages, Koskoff recalled having a tremendous translating team on the set, thanks to whose “phenomenal support” that she overcame the difficulty after 5-6 days. According to her, the enthusiasm from the crew was quite impressive, and everybody just worked happily altogether. Koskoff then expressed gratitude to Taiwanese crew members, TFC Director Jennifer Jao and staff, Chairman Harvey Chang, CEO Daphne Yang, and General Manager Jimmy Yang of Catchplay for their support on behalf of the production team. “Marty could not have done this anywhere else,” she stressed. Looking back on how Silence was brought to life in Taiwan, Scorsese cherishes this profound experience and said that he would like to film a contemporary story in the cities in Taiwan next time, either in Taipei or Taichung, where he has also found a great deal of nature. He believes that a director should stay open to other cultures, and take time to understand it and its people. Through the creation of Silence, Scorsese wishes to explore the rather serious and spiritual aspect about human condition with his cinematic art. Scorsese also talked about his experiences working with the film’s lead cast, Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver. He praised the two’s professional attitude and amazing acting skills, especially their self-discipline. Since both Garfield and Driver had to lose weight for their characters, once the two actors even tried to resist the famous Ding Tai Fong dumplings while other crew members were devouring the delicacy on the set. Also present at the press conference were Deputy Director Wayne Liu of Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications of R.O.C., Commissioner Chung Yung-feng of Dept. of Cultural Affairs, Taipei City Government, Deputy CEO Ann Yang of Taipei Culture Foundation, Director Jennifer Jao of TFC, and Chairman Harvey Chang and CEO Daphne Yang of Catchplay.
(from left) TFC Director Jennifer Jao, Deputy CEO Ann Yang of Taipei Culture Foundation, Commissioner Chung Yung-feng of Dept. of Cultural Affairs, director Martin Scorsese, producer Emma Koskoff and screenwriter Jay Cocks
Silence was partly financed by Catchplay company, the film’s distributor in Taiwan, and has also received subsidy and production supports from Taipei City Government and Taipei Film Commission. Earlier during the opening speech, Commissioner Chung Yung-feng of Dept. of Cultural Affairs showed his admire of Scorsese’s art, and thanked TFC’s efforts during the shooting of Silence and TFC’s long-time contribution to international co-productions. Taipei City welcomes all international directors and is optimistic about opening up more opportunities for film workers. Following the steps of Scorsese, Silence’s cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, nominee of the 2017 American Society of Cinematographers Award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography, will talk about his art in a “Cinematography Master Class” organized by TFC on Jan. 25th, as part of TFC’s 2017 “Taipei Film Academy” Lecture Series. Silence will be released nationwide in Taiwan on Feb. 17th.