Taipei Film Activity – December, 2016
Taipei Film Activity – December, 2016 - Taipei Film Commission
Taiwanese Filmmakers Support Same-sex Marriage During Busy Golden Horse Awards Season
(Article/Kevin Chang; translation/Master Translation Service Co., Ltd)
November is the time of Golden Horse Film Festival and the Golden Horse Awards. Taiwanese filmmakers devote themselves to the film festival and venture capital meetings during this time of the year. On November 17 this year, however, their attention was drawn to something with effects that reach far beyond filmmaking circles. On this day, the marriage equality amendments that were expected to pass preliminary review by the Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee was delayed by anti-gay protesters outside the Legislative Yuan, with drastic actions and radical language. Film producers Lee Lieh and Yeh Jufeng, directors Yee Chih-yen, Nelson Yeh, and Yang Ya-che, and actress Rainie Yang published posts on Facebook in support of marriage equality and basic human rights.
French professor Jacques Picoux, who had played a substantial role in Taiwanese cinema since the New Taiwanese Cinema period, fell to his death from his home in Taiwan on October 16, only two weeks before the 14th Taiwan Gay Pride Parade on October 30. His death also brought his long, close relationship with his partner Christophe Tseng into spotlight. Tseng, who was the agent for Chinese actress Gong Li, died from a sickness last year. He and Picoux had been together for 35 years, yet because their relationship was not lawfully recognized, Picoux was unable to participate in his end-of-life decisions and could not inherit Tseng’s estate. News of this incident inspired many to learn about LGBT rights and garnered even more support for the gay pride parade that soon followed. More than 80 thousand people joined the parade, and Taipei City Government raised the rainbow flag for the event for the first time. As polls showed that more than half of the people in Taiwan support same-sex marriage, its legalization seemed to be in its home stretch.
Also at the end of October, the 3rd Taiwan International Queer Film Festival presented its first Queermosa Awards, which are for public figures, corporations, and audio-visual works that promote acceptance of LGBT communities, to applaud their courage. Key figures from film circles, including Ella Chen and Lee Lieh attended the ceremony. In terms of LGBT rights development, Taiwan is poised to become a pioneer among Asian countries, and international media are expecting Taiwan to become the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage.
On November 17, the day amendments regarding same-sex marriage were expected to pass preliminary review at the Legislative Yuan, compromises were made to reschedule the review after hearings are held, due to protests and boycott by anti-same-sex marriage organizations, legislators who oppose the amendments, and members of religious groups.
Director Yee Chih-yen posted on Facebook to address slanderous statements against same-sex marriage with a quote from the protagonist “Jay” of his TV series Dangerous Mind, “They discriminate against you because you are different from them. They say what you want is wrong and that you are a troublemaker. Once they label you a troublemaker, they have the power to discriminate against you.” Despite protests, Rainie Yang also publicly supports marriage equality by posting on Facebook saying, “Just because they are different does not mean that they are wrong. There are no absolutes in this world, are there? LGBT friends, stay strong. Action speaks louder than words.” She even personally engaged in conversations with commenters to communicate her ideas. Taiwanese filmmakers not only speak for diversity in their work; they also take action in real life to promote acceptance of diverse values.