Taiwan keen for co-productions with Indian filmmakers

PANAJI: Taiwan ambassador Wenchyi Ong said India and his country had similar cultural values and, therefore, could collaborate in co-productions.

Ong said he had held discussions with filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra in this connection as both countries can work together in the cultural field.

Joy Yen, Director for Information in the Taipei Economic and Culture Centre in New Delhi, said talks were also being held with filmmakers in Bangalore for both that city and Taipei to work as sister cities and produce films.

Speaking at the Open Forum on the New Wave in Taiwan cinema, she said there are two film commissions in Taiwan which offer tax benefits and concessions for filmmakers who want to shoot in that country.

A package titled ‘Taiwanese New Wave Cinema’ is being presented at the Festival with eight films including those of Ang Lee, Edward Yang, Stan Lai and Hou Shiao-Hsien with films like ‘Taipei Exchanges’, (1985), ‘In Our Time’ (1982), ‘Vive l’Amour’ (1994), ‘Eat Drink Man Woman’ (1994, ‘Growing Up’ (1983), ‘The City of Sadness’ (1989, ‘The Sandwich Man’ (1983) and ‘Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land’ (1992).

‘The Sandwich Man’ director Jen Wan said the package has films from the eighties and nineties expect for one film ‘Juliets’ which is recent. He said Taiwan cinema had fallen from 230 films a year to just 10 to 12 films. He said that cinema had become very commercialised after the eighties and, therefore, very few new wave films were being made. There are just two types of cinema: either the kung fu variety or the romantic, which were akin to Bollywood films. The fall of the kung fu films helped the new wave to thrive.

He said even Satyajit Ray had affected filmmakers of the new wave in his country, and made films that were closer to the real life of the people. The revival of the new wave in his country was like the revival of the art cinema in India.

He also linked the present new wave in his country to the fact that China no longer controlled content in his country. But he regretted that there had been strong influences of Hong Kong cinema for many years. He claimed that Chinese cinema was presently being influenced by Taiwanese cinema.

‘Juliets’ producer Khan Lee said Taiwan society was very controlled in the eighties but was more liberal today than Chinese society. The new wave cinema is very personal, though it deals with subjects like romance. He said in reply to a question that there was no censorship of films in his country despite the Censor Board being there. This was not so in China. Much depended on how filmmakers branded their films.

Yu-lin Wang, director of ‘Seven days in Heaven,’ said the new wave had begun to disappear in the mid-nineties but had seen resurgence recently.

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