(Left to right)Actor Andrew Garfield, director Martin Scorsese, producer Emma Koskoff appreciated Taiwan's support
Martin Scorsese’s Silence, the Academy Award winning director’s long anticipated film project about faith and religion, will wrap production May 15 after fourteen weeks of filming in Taiwan. An international press conference co-organized by Taipei Film Commission(TFC) and Catchplay was held in Regent Taipei today, with Scorsese, producer Emma Koskoff, actor Andrew Garfield, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and Chairman of Catchplay Harvey Chang as honorable guests. Besides, Commissioner of Dept. of Cultural Affairs of Taipei City Ni Chong-hua and Director of Taipei Film Commission Jennifer Jao were also present. Taipei Mayor Ko indicated the significance of the international production for Taiwan in terms of local film industry while Scorsese, Koskoff and Garfield appreciated Taiwan’s support in the making of the film as well the geographical beauty of the island.
(Left to right)Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je, director Martin Scorsese, actor Andrew Garfield, producer Emma Koskoff
Scorsese came to shoot the film in Taiwan through director Ang Lee’s initial introduction; the film is entirely shot in Taiwan in various locations in Taipei(Yangmingshan, CMPC Studio and Beitou area), Taichung, Hualien, etc. In addition to subsidy and production supports from Taipei City Government and Taipei Film Commission, Silence is partly financed by Catchplay company who is also the film’s distributor in Taiwan.
Academy Award winning director Martin Scorsese at the press conference of his new film Silence
With Scorsese’s Catholic background, the question of religion has been one of his preoccupations. His reading of Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence about God’s silence in the face of human suffering led to a draft script around 1992. It has taken 15 years to elaborate the draft and ruminate on the ideas until Scorsese felt ready to shoot the film. For the story featuring several characters with mental depth, Scorsese summoned a remarkable array of actors including Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield and Asano Tadanobu, etc. The director especially appreciated Garfield’s acceptance of playing the role of Father Rodrigues and his real devotion into the role both mentally and physically. Since the story’s background is 17th century Japan, the film also features several Japanese actors including Tadanobu Asano(who plays the Japanese interpreter) and Yoshi Oida in his eighties, the latter has worked with renowned theatre director Peter Brook for more than four decades.
Producer Emma Koskoff(right) felt it’s a privilege to work with Scorsese(right)
When asked about interpreting the difficult role of Father Rodrigues, Garfield said it’s rare that Martin calls somebody and when he was called upon, he accepted the role despite of the difficulty. He also talked about Scorsese’s encouragement to collaborators, which also catalyzed the best in him to represent the role burdened with pressure and pain at an agonizing time in life. His remarks were echoed by Scorsese’s long term collaborator Koskoff who felt it’s an honor and privilege to work with Scorsese who has such unequalled passion and knowledge for cinema and respect for the production process. For her, Scorsese is also a great observer with a profound understanding of humanity which leads to the multifaceted roles in his films. Besides, the director’s generosity and promotion for the junior generation and the cinema heritage as a whole are also exceptional.
(Left to right)Actor Andrew Garfield, director Martin Scorsese, producer Emma Koskoff shared their experience of working in Taiwan and visiting around
Regarding their experience in Taiwan, Scorsese said the past months of shooting in Taiwan were like a dream come true. He was especially impressed by the beauty of the landscape and the rare diversity of terrain features. The tranquility of natural environments made him feel the real pace of life, far away from the daily bustling, as if immersing himself in another world. As for Koskoff who has stayed in the country in several periods, she appreciated the openness and support from local counterparts, especially when she had to confront the difficulties of working with people of four different nationalities and cultures. She felt regret to leave the country after completing the shooting and hoped to come back again. She also wished many more international films would be shot here. Garfield felt like rooting in the country and even felt strange to live among Westerners. Apart from the regret of not being able to taste local food due to restrictions of his role(a starved prisoner), he enjoyed his stay in Kenting in the south of the island, the stunning beauty of beaches in Hualien and local night market; he even bought the coat he wore at the conference from a night market. For him, Taipei is comparable to other major metropolises in the world.
Garfield showed his coat bought in a local night market
Taipei City Mayor Ko, for his part, said that Silence is one more large-scale international film production that the City of Taipei assisted with after Lucy by French director Luc Besson. He emphasized the film’s impact on local film industry by engaging local extras, crews and using local settings or creating settings locally, bringing about revenue of 4 hundred million NTD. Furthermore, foreign members of Silence crew will be invited to join the film professionals’ workshop of Taipei Film Academy, thus enhancing the technical quality of Taiwan’s film production. For Harvey Chang, Chairman of Catchplay, he felt it’s an honor to join the production of Silence. Through the participation, Taiwan plays an active role in the film industry worldwide and its film techniques can be upgraded.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je gave a ceramic horse sculpture to Scorsese because his birth year is horse year according to Chinese tradition. The horse also relates to a Chinese proverb “一馬當先”(meaning “taking the lead”) which includes the word “horse”
At the press conference, Mayor Ko gave a special gift to the renowned director, which is a ceramic horse sculpture, in corresponding to the director’s birth year(the horse year according to Chinese tradition). The horse also relates to a Chinese proverb “一馬當先”(meaning “taking the lead”) which includes the word “horse”. Besides, Chairman Chang gave a calligraphy work to the director, representing “沉默”, the two Chinese characters of “silence”.(Article/Sylvie Lin; photos/Richard Wang; video/May Wen)
Catchplay chairman Harvey Chang gave a calligraphy work representing Chinese characters of "Silence" to the crew