2016 Taipei Film Academy Opens with Marco Mueller’s Lecture on Chinese Language Films and Int’l Film Festivals
2016 Taipei Film Academy Opens with Marco Mueller’s Lecture on Chinese Language Films and Int’l Film Festivals - Taipei Film Commission
Supported by Taipei City Government and Taipei City Department of Cultural Affairs (DOCA), organized by Taipei Culture Foundation and Taipei Film Commission (TFC), the 2016 Taipei Film Academy (TFA) - Cinema Master Forum took place on September 19 at Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel Taipei, Taiwan. International Film Festival Awards Macao (IFFAM) Festival director Marco Mueller was invited to speak on the prestigious standards of international film festivals. The forum has raised keen interest and received full registration, attracting about 500 participants.
2016 Taipei Film Academy (TFA) - Cinema Master Forum attracted about 500 participants
International Film Festival Awards Macao (IFFAM) Festival director Marco Mueller
Marco Mueller greeted the audience in fluent Mandarin
Marco Mueller(right) receiving an honor trophy from DOCA Commissioner Pei-ni Beatrice Hsieh
Marco Mueller, who received an honor trophy from DOCA Commissioner Pei-ni Beatrice Hsieh, delightfully greeted the audience in fluent Mandarin. As one of the recipients of the 1989 International Communications Service Award for promoting Chinese culture by Government Information Office, Taiwan, Marco Mueller holds a special feeling for Taiwan. Since he knew that TFC has contributed a lot to the promotion of Taiwanese films, he willingly accepted the TFA’s invitation and came to Taipei in the hope of getting connected with new Taiwanese talents. He recalled his first encounter with director Edward Yang in Hong Kong back in 1979, when Yang was making That Day, On the Beach (1983). It was when Mueller first got acquainted with Taiwanese filmmakers, a time when Taiwanese films were not known by the world.
In 1981, two years after meeting Yang, Mueller visited Taiwan for the first time and found a trend of “something new”—the New Taiwan Cinema. It was the first New Wave trend that he had taken part, and this “discovery” has kept bringing him back to Taiwan even until today. Mueller had organized the first systematic panorama of New Taiwan Cinema in Pesaro, Italy, wrote the first books on Taiwanese Cinema. He had also visited director Hou Hsiou-hsien in his studio in Taipei when Hou was editing A City of Sadness, which was later selected in Venice Film Festival during Muller’s term as the consultant for Asian cinema, where Hou’s film became the first Chinese language film to win the Golden Lion Award.
Mueller began his lecture on international film festivals
Mueller began his lecture on international film festivals with the idea of festival manufacturing as part of the cultural industry. He observed that art cinema circuit has stopped to exist around the world, such as in Japan, Korea, as well as in Taiwan, and that people still need film festivals nowadays to showcase films, because only through film festivals can film workers fight against the “market censorship,” and continue to nourish and support new talents. Tracing back his professional experiences from Venice, Rome, Locarno, Rotterdam, Marco Mueller explained some of the film selection standards, technical problems and difficulties. He also commented on the work and responsibility of film festival curators as “cultural gatekeepers,” especially when the esthetics of dominant culture still continue to set bars on other minorities.
As for Chinese language films, especially for Taiwanese filmmakers, who already share a highly-developed film culture, Marco Mueller felt the need of a platform to for filmmakers interact with international audiences. He urged filmmakers to start out from individual emotion and move forward “in 360 degrees” to the global stage, tending to all aspects of filmmaking. From one’s body and mind, filmmakers must find the energy to fight on a larger, international scale and to carry on continuous dialogues with the world. “Cinema is already dead, but it still has a future, as we always see dead people in the movies,” he joked.
For his visit to Taiwan this time, Marco Mueller plans to see as many Taiwanese films as possible. He had already met with director Tsai Ming-liang and Hou the day before, and after TFA’s Forum, he will immediately begin watching 9 recent Taiwanese films on his list.
the Forum continued with a lively discussion by producers (from left) Yeh Jufeng, Lee Lieh and TFC Director Jennifer Jao
In the afternoon, the Forum continued with a lively discussion on “The Present and the Future of Taiwan Cinema” by producers Lee Lieh and Yeh Jufeng. TFC Director Jennifer Jao, host of the forum, introduced the two crucial figures in Taiwan’s film industry while emphasizing the role of producers. She commented that unlike 20 years ago, when the main activity of producers was more about administrative works, nowadays, producers need to have a broad vision on every aspect of a film. How to seek Talent, Topics, and Funds has become the key issue.
Producer Yeh Jufeng
Producer Lee Lieh
Lee Lieh and Yeh Jufeng then talked about the “realities” in current Taiwanese film industry based on these years’ experience. Lee thought the industry is facing a lack of talents. The two stressed that TFC is the sole organization that organizes such large scale of film academy aiming at promoting the roles of producers and screenwriters. However, producers invested the most efforts but are the least recognized. It takes long to cultivate a producer, and a producer always has to keep learning because each film has its own life. Yeh recalled how her career in the industry from a script girl, a producer, an executive producer, to an owner of a film company, whereas Lee regarded her role of a producer as a “realist dream maker” who has a long battle to fight.
Although nowadays, Taiwanese films have to compete with not only Hollywood blockbusters but also Korean films, the lecturers asked audience who would like to devote to film industry to acquire the ability to appreciate, to observe, to execute, and to judge. “Figure out your goal and keep going,” the two concluded.
(from left) Producer Lee Lieh, TFC Director Jennifer Jao, and Yeh Jufeng
Earlier at the opening speech, DOCA Commissioner Pei-ni Beatrice Hsieh remarked that as the capital of Taiwan, Taipei city has attracted 90% of Taiwanese film workers, and it is especially DOCA’s mission to seize every chance for international dialogues. With Taipei Film Academy, Taipei City has opened up a window and introduced international lecturers, in the hope of building up a common future with more possibilities and humanist spirits.
The 2016 edition of Taipei Film Academy has seen a positive expansion in the diversity of courses. This year, the Academy introduces series of workshops and forums targeting film talents in Taiwan, ranging from “Cinema Master Forum” (Sep 19th), “Filmmakers’ Workshop” (Sep 26th –Oct 1st), “International Animation and Special Effects Forum” (Oct 3rd-4th) to “Screenwriters’ Forum” (Oct 18th-19th).