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45th Asian American International Film Festival to Highlight Three Taiwanese Directors
The 45th Asian American International Film Festival (AAIFF45) will take place from August 3-13. The full lineup represents films from 24 different countries and 20 languages, and three films by Taiwanese directors as well as two US-Taiwan co-productions have been selected. In addition, Taiwanese American film editor Jean Tsien(錢孝貞)was announced as the recipient of AAIFF45’s Media Award.

AAIFF45 is presented by Asian CineVision (ACV) in association with Asia Society. The programs combine in-person screenings and events with an online exhibition in order to provide a hybrid format that everyone can enjoy. According to Associate Director Eunice Chen in an interview with Asian Movie Pulse, “AAIFF45 marks an important milestone anniversary. ACV prides itself in a legacy rooted in championing the voices of Asian diaspora artists. This year’s festival continues to celebrate the collective Asian American and Pacific Islander identity by reflecting on ACV’s achievements since 1977!”

When the festival begins on August 3, a number of movies by Taiwanese directors will become available online. O~FORTUNA(喔~命運女神)is about a successful musician who accidentally falls out the window and embarks on a journey through his past, present, and future. The film was directed by Che Chen, who grew up in Taiwan and later moved to California to study filmmaking and animation.

STILL ROLLING(殺青)depicts a new filmmaker’s struggles to defend her boundaries while working on a Chinese TV production. The film’s director, Liang-Chun Lin(林亮君), earned her BA in Radio and Television at Chengchi University(政治大學). Her latest short film, A DIRE STRAIT(母侵), won the Grand Jury Award at the prestigious Dances With Films 2022, an annual festival celebrating the top independent films.

AN UNFINISHED FILM (未完成電影)is an experimental documentary born out of an unfinished feature film by Taiwanese filmmaker/photographer Yi-Chiang Lin(林奕彊). Due to the ongoing pandemic, his film shoot was abruptly suspended. During his seemingly endless wait for normality to resume, he began to examine, reconstruct, and edit all the footages he created.

AAIFF45 also honors Jean Tsien, a veteran documentary editor, executive producer, and story consultant who has been working in the documentary film industry for 40 years. She received the 2017 Golden Horse Award for Best Film Editing. Her notable editing credits include the 2001 Academy Award-nominated film, SCOTTSBORO: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY; three Peabody Award-winning films: MALCOLM X: MAKE IT PLAIN(簡而言之麥爾坎), TRAVIS, and SOLAR MAMAS(太陽能媽媽); and the 2020 Primetime Emmy winner for Outstanding Documentary, THE APOLLO(阿波羅任務). Most recently, she produced HIDDEN LETTERS(女書), which premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Film Festival.

In addition, two Taiwanese co-productions will be featured at AAIFF45, highlighting Taiwan's international friendships. NO NEW WAVE (曼島日夜�

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Shan Puppet Theater to Tour in the US
Shan Puppet Theater(山宛然客家布袋戲團), an internationally acclaimed Taiwanese puppetry troupe, will be touring in Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Detroit, and Ann Arbor this August. The troupe will be presenting “Mischiefs/Adventures in Crystal Palace (大鬧水晶空)” and multiple puppet workshops. Audiences are sure to enjoy the unique aesthetics of Taiwanese classical hand puppetry through intricate puppets, expert puppetry, and lively music.

Hand puppet shows, also known as Zhangshang xi (drama of the palm of the hand) or Budai ji (cloth bag drama), have been a tradition in Taiwan for centuries. Traditional hand puppet performances are conducted by two teams: the “front stage” team, who operate the puppets, and the “back stage” team, who perform the music. The plays are typically adaptations of classical novels that incorporate elements of history, mythology, or folk heroes.

In order to deliver a special treat to American audiences, two puppeteers and four musicians from Shan Puppet Theater will take part in performing “Mischiefs/Adventures in Crystal Palace.” The story is adapted from Journey to the West, a well-known Chinese novel published in the 16th century that is considered to be one of the four great classical novels of Chinese literature. The enchanting story includes exciting martial arts and exhilarating underwater scenes, which are sure to take the audience’s breath away.

At workshops, the troupe will demonstrate basic techniques for manipulating hand puppets and playing traditional Taiwanese musical instruments. Participants will have the opportunity to use intricate hand puppets and practice the instruments belonging to the troupe.

Shan Puppet Theater was founded by Wu-Shan Huang in 2002. When Huang was only ten, he became an apprentice for highly respected Taiwanese puppet master Tien-Lu Lee (李天祿). Being of Hakka origin, Huang also learned Hakka folk songs and opera from legendary Hakka singer Bi-Xia Lai (賴碧霞). Therefore, he decided to blend traditional puppetry with Hakka music and language to create a new path in order to share Hakka culture with a broader audience.

Shan Puppet Theater has performed around the world in countries such as Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, France, Argentina, and the United States.

(Please note that Mischiefs/Adventures in Crystal Palace will be performed in Hakka dialect with English and Mandarin supertitles.)

Thursday, August 4, 1:00-2:00 pm EDT
Online Lecture: “Hakka Culture and the Art of Taiwanese Hand Puppetry” -- A Conversation between DIA Puppet Curator Larry Baranski and Shan Puppet Theater founder Wu-Shan Huang

Friday, August 12, 11:30am-12:30 pm CST
Puppet Workshop for Summer Camp Students
Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore Blvd, Houston, TX 77004

Saturday, August 13, 11:00am-12:00pm and 1:00-3:00 pm CST
Puppet Workshop and Adventures in the Crystal Palace (Reception after the show)
Asia Society Texas Center, 1370 Southmore Blvd, Houston, TX 77004

Sunday, August 14, 1:00-3:00pm CST
Adventures in the Crystal Palace & Puppet Workshop
San Antonio Museum of Art: John L. Santikos Auditorium, 200 W Jones Ave, San Antonio, TX 78215

Monday, August 15, 2:00-4:00pm CST
Adventures in the Crystal Palace & Puppet Workshop
Austin Public Library-Central Library: Special Event Center, 710 W Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78701

Wednesday, August 17, 5:30-6:30 pm EDT
Puppet Workshop: part of the Campbell Terrace Music Series (free)
Dequindre Cut Greenway, Lafayette Entrance, Detroit, MI 48207

Saturday, August 20, 12:00-1:00 pm and 3:00-4:00 pm EDT
Mischiefs in Crystal Palace (free)
Detroit Film Theater, 5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202

Sunday, August 21, 2:00-4:00 pm EDT
Mischiefs in Crystal Palace & Puppet Workshop (free)
Ann Arbor District Library: Downtown Library, 343 South Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor, MI 48104

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Taiwanese Writer Yuching Lin(林玉菁)to Participate in VSC Residency Program

Taiwanese translator, curator, and writer Yuching Lin will participate in the Vermont Studio Center (VSC) residency program this August.

During her residency at VSC, Yuching Lin plans to work on her research and writing project The Quietest Noises: Stitching, Weaving and Embroidering in Armed Conflicts, Political Oppressions and Forced Migration. The project uncovers hidden stories of women’s weaving and stitching practices during times of conflict, oppression, and forced migration through Hmong story cloths, Afghan war rugs, and Chilean arpilleras.

Yuching Lin specializes in journalism, oriental studies, and international relations. Her books and exhibitions typically focus on issues pertaining to politics, culture, history, and society across Asian regions. Yuching has also accumulated a wide range of international experiences throughout her career. For example, she participated in Taiwan’s NGO alliance for the UN convention on eliminating violence against women, and she has worked with the Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan and the International Federation of Red Cross-Americas. Unearthing new voices and challenging existing views have always remained at the core of her approach.

VSC was founded in 1984 to provide residencies in Johnson, Vermont, to exceptional writers and artists. Visiting artists from all over the world are able to enjoy the projects of VSC’s community of artists, give presentations on their work, and engage in one-on-one studio visits with residents. Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture has partnered with VSC since 2013 to support Taiwanese writers in the program.

For more information about VSC, please visit:


Photo Courtesy of Yuching Lin

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