Capturing Sweetness of Life ― New Taipei City International Documentary Month
Documentaries are the unvarnished truth of the past, the creative treatment of the present, and the precious legacy for the future. In view of this, New Taipei City Government has set every November as the International Documentary Month to bring positivity, inspiration and international perspective to its citizens.
New Taipei City Documentary Award has held annually since 2012, supporting nearly 60 documentaries and recognizing the effort from these diligent directors. In the early years, the purpose of this award is to invite New Taipei citizens to film their daily lives by using cameras or smartphones. Recently, however, the format of this competition has focused on professional documentaries, as government provides financial, administrative and professional assistance after the directors sending their documentary proposals.
The 7th New Taipei City Documentary Award kicks of November 15, 2017 at Fuzhong 15 - New Taipei City Documentary Cinema. The theme of this year’s New Taipei City Documentary Award centers on ubiquitous happiness, which the Information Department expects the directors to film the sweetness of life and explore the unknown stories on this island through their unique perspective. The one-month event will present to citizens a total of 12 outstanding documentaries and also serve as the platforms for filmmakers to exchange experience and share thoughts.
The best feature of these documentaries is the variety of topics reflecting latest social issues, including Syrian refugees, feminism, LGBT and new immigrants in Taiwan. Over a fierce preliminary round, the judges will select 24 documentaries to invite the directors to share their concept of creation and the approaches of film picturing. The jury team will then decide the final 12 documentaries in the last round, providing every film 330,000 NTD to smoothly conduct their film and assisting their filming techniques by organizing several Film Producer Workshops.
“New Taipei has promoted Documentary Award for over 7 years. Many youths and filmmakers have exerted their talents, while citizens have increase their understanding on documentaries and the related social issues,” said Dr. Eric Lilun Chu, the mayor of New Taipei City. “This year we have a total of 87 documentaries from Taiwan, Hong-Kong and Mainland China. We encourage more applicants to engage in documentaries in the upcoming years, and we expect all the award winners to keep pursuing their dreams and produce more inspiring documentaries.”
The documentary film “Distant land” produced by Mr. Xu Jong-cai and Mr. Xu Zhong-yan has won the first prize of 2017 New Taipei City Documentary Award. The award-winning documentary is about a Myanmar wife in Taiwan opening a restaurant to provide a stable life and education for her son, while her husband, who could not bear with the working environment in Taiwan, takes their daughter with him to Myanmar mine site trying to make a fortune. The documentary clearly depicts the real life of the scatter stories of these immigrants and the struggle of their lives.
Other thought-provoking documentaries include "Green Jail", a film portraying the most infamous coal mine in imperial Japanese history in 1937, where the miners were imprisoned and forced to inject morphine to keep working. Equally eye-catching is “Son of Yangtze”, a documentary from Chinese directors, which talks about the loss and meaningless life of many Chinese fresh graduates and how they are going to deal with their future journey.
Documentaries offer audiences a glimpse of people in every corner and from all walks of life, further drawing the public’s attention to various social issues and create a better future. The city government is dedicated to building New Taipei as a Film Friendly City for filmmakers to wholeheartedly produce their ideal documentaries and wield their influence on audiences and citizens.