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Asian Pop-Up Cinema to Present the U.S. Premieres of 5 Taiwanese Documentaries, September 22-26

FORMOZAN B.B. IS COMIN (黑熊來了), WHALE ISLAND (男人與他的海), WATER WITH LIFE (水起‧臺灣), WALKING DHARMA (如常), and TSUNMA, TSUNMA: MY SUMMER WITH THE FEMALE MONASTICS OF THE HIMALAYA (尊瑪、尊瑪:我和她們在喜馬拉雅山的夏天), 5 Taiwanese documentaries will have their U.S. premieres as part of the lineup of Chicago’s Asian Pop-Up Cinema (APUC)’s bi-annual film festival Season Eleven. All the titles will be available to stream in the U.S. via Festival Scope from Sept. 22 through Sept. 26. This entitled “Taiwan’s Week: Spotlight in Documentaries” section marks the first time for the film festival to highlight “a large selection of rarely shown documentaries to nurture our audience with strong dose of pure beauty -- both humanitarian and cinematic,” according to Sophia Wong Boccio, APUC’s Founder and Executive Director. 

Taipei Culture Center (TPECC) in New York states that APUC has been delivering on its mission to be “your passport to Asian Cinema” for the moviegoers in Chicagoland since its establishment in 2015. This June, given that most of the states had implemented Stay-At-Home orders, TPECC in New York and APUC co-presented “Mini-Focus: Taiwan Cinema Online,” attracting a larger-than-expected audience to watch a number of critically and commercially acclaimed feature and short films from Taiwan. “Taiwan’s Week: Spotlight in Documentaries” offers a well-rounded experience of Taiwan’s ecological and social environments, reflecting the variety and versatility of filmmaking in the island.

FORMOSAN B.B. IS COMING is directed by the experienced mountaineer and director Mai Chueh-ming(麥覺明). Mai led his team to follow professor Hwang Mei-hsiu(黃美秀), the world's foremost expert on the Formosa Black Bear, into the deep, mountainous forests where the endangered species inhabits. The Formosa Black Bear is a symbol for Taiwan; however, illegal hunting and poaching cause a decline of these big mammals. No one knows exactly how many bears still exist. Taiwanese singer and record producer Bobby Chen(陳昇) was invited to compose and sing the theme song, “Tapushuuan Bring Little Bears Home (Tapushuuan帶小熊回家)” for the film. “Tapushuuan” means fireflies in Bununese (布農族語), one of the Indigenous languages in Taiwan.

WHALE ISLAND is directed by Huang Chia-chun(黃嘉俊). He spent 3 years documenting oceanic literature author Liao Hung-chi(廖鴻基) and underwater photographer Ray Chin(金磊) who have sailed all the way from eastern Taiwan to as far afield as Kingdom of Tonga, 5,000 miles away from home. Viewers can not only explore the beauty of the whales and the ocean, but also get a sense of the sea men’s struggle and helplessness in tug-of-war between dreams and realities. WHALE ISLAND won Best Foreign Documentary at 2020 Depth of Field International Festival and Press Award at 2020 Taipei Film Awards.

WATER WITH LIFE is the world’s first 8K high resolution environmental documentary, a groundbreaking collaboration between Delta Electronics Foundation (台達電子文教基金會) in Taiwan and NHK Enterprises in Japan. Featuring Taiwan’s and Japan’s waterscape throughout four seasons, the film takes audiences on an unprecedented journey that enables viewers to take a close look into the water habitat, the lives relying on water, and the impact and destruction caused by global warming. WATER WITH LIFE won a Gold Remi Award at 2020 WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival.

WALKING DHARMA is directed by Hsieh Hsih-chih(謝欣志) and Chen Chih-an (陳芝安). The film focuses on a group of Tzu Chi(慈濟)’s volunteers working silently in Taitung, Taiwan, where many elderly live alone or have to take care of their grandchildren while the parents are away working. Two directors spent a year-and-a-half shooting in Taitung, turning 7,000 minutes of footage into a 71-minute montage. According to Taipei Times, The audience not only learns about the motives that drive these tireless volunteers; the film also offers a cross-section glimpse of the less fortunate in Taiwan, who are usually invisible to the public eye.” WALKING DHARNA was dubbed as “this summer’s most heartwarming documentary” while released in Taiwan last July.  

TSUNMA, TSUNMA: MY SUMMER WITH THE FEMALE MONASTICS OF THE HIMALAYA is directed by Taiwanese photographer Lin Li-fang. “Tsunma,” an honorific term meaning “noble, delicate, and pure,” refers to the Tibetan Buddhist nuns in the Himalayan region, who have been largely ignored or forgotten by the traditions and the society they serve. Lin went on a solo journey up 4,270 meters to the Himalayan plateau and spent an entire summer with some of these nuns. In the unforgiving environment, she captured the life of a group of kind, humble, persevering people who dedicate themselves to keeping hope and faith alive. The documentary won Merit Prize at 2017 Women Make Waves Film Festival in Taiwan.

Celebrating its 5th Anniversary, Asian Pop-Up Cinema will present 22 movies, 15 online and 7 at a drive-in theater, running from September 10 through October 10. Additionally, pre-recorded “Filmmakers’ Talks” videos, responding to a questionnaire prepared by APUC’s elite virtual moderators, are included at the end of most films to enhance the audience’s understanding of cultural and artistic aspects of the pieces.

For more information, please visit APUC’s website:; or Festival Scope’s:

Source: Asia Pop-Up Cinema

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Taiwanese artist Lee Mingwei and legendary American choreographer Bill T. Jones collaborate OUR LABYRINTH at The Met

MetLiveArts of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in partnership with New York Live Arts, organizes a unique, site-specific iteration of Taiwanese-American artist Lee Mingwei(李明維)'s durational performance work OUR LABYRINTH (如實曲徑). Originally performed at the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and Centre Pompidou, Lee has invited legendary American dancer and choreographer Bill T. Jones to collaborate on a special version specifically for New York City and The Met as a meditation on this moment of instability and profound change.

OUR LABYRINTH is a live performance for an online audience, streamed over three weeks from three Met galleries while the Museum is closed.
◆ Performance 1
    Wednesday, September 16, 12–4:30 pm
    The Great Hall
◆ Performance 2 
    Wednesday, September 23, 12–4:30 pm
    Gallery 206, The Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Asian Art
◆ Performance 3
    Wednesday, September 30, 12–4:30 pm
    Gallery 700, The Charles Engelhard Court, The American Wing

Watch the performance on YouTube  (No login required.)

For more details about OUR LABYRINTH at The Met.

This program is supported by the Ministry of Culture, R.O.C. (Taiwan) and Taipei Cultural Center in New York, the Adrienne Arsht Fund for Resilience through Art, and Jody and John Arnhold.

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Three Taiwanese Masterworks Bound For 2020 New York Film Festival

Taiwan-based Malaysian director Tsai Ming-liang(蔡明亮)’s latest feature, iconic auteur Hou Hsiao-hsien(侯孝賢)’s remastered classic as well as contemporary artist Hsu Che-Yu(許哲瑜)’s experimental film are all bound for 2020 New York Film Festival. Taipei Cultural Center in New York is delighted three Taiwanese masterworks are selected, including Tsia’s DAYS (日子, 2019) in the festival’s primary section Main Slate, Hou’s FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI (海上花, 1998) in Revivals, and Hsu’s SINGLE COPY(副本人, 2019) in Currents. Cinephiles can watch not only two features directed by two internationally-acclaimed filmmakers from Taiwan, but a 22-minute moving image work on a new and innovative form.

DAYS will be the fifth film by director Tsai Ming-liang in the festival, following YOUR FACE(你的臉) in 2018, STRAY DOGS(郊遊) in 2013, GOODBYE DRAGON INN(不散) in 2003 and WHAT TIME IS IT THERE(你那邊幾點) in 2001. The film recounts the everyday lives of a middle-class man and a poor boy who gives body massages. The festival states “DAYS will undoubtedly stand as one of Tsai’s best, sparest, and most intimate works.” Tsai says he feels deeply honored his new feature can be selected and has its American Premiere at this year’s New York Film Festival. DAYS already won the jury Teddy Award at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival this February, which honors films with LGBT themes.

22 years ago, FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI was already selected for the 36th New York Film Festival. Its return represents NYFF organizers’ longtime fondness for Hou Hsiao-hsien, who is also dubbed as “Taiwan’s greatest filmmaker” in an article in The New York Times this May. FLOWERS OF SHANGHAI portraits an opulent world of late-19th-century Chinese courtesans and their suitors. According to the festival’s description, the film is “a transfixing masterwork and an achingly, intoxicatingly sensuous landmark of ’90s world cinema.” As the leading figure of the Taiwanese New Wave and one of the most important and influential filmmakers in Taiwan, Hou, now 73, will be presented with a lifetime achievement honor at this year’s Golden Horse Awards “in recognition of his distinguished accomplishment in cinematic aesthetics and his dedication to passing on the heritage of cinematic arts.”

Hsu Che-Yu is a contemporary artist who primarily creates animations, videos and installations that explore the relationship between media and memories. SINGLE COPY, his latest work in collaboration with screenwriter Chen Wan-Yin, features Chang Chung-I(張忠義), a once-conjoined twin, whose separation surgery at age 3 was broadcast live on television in Taiwan in 1979. The twins became a sensation after the successful surgery; unfortunately, one of the twins, Chang Chung-Jen(張忠仁), suddenly died of a brain hemorrhage in 2019. In this video, Hsu is said to blend “real and fictive iterations,” by digitally scanning the surviving brother’s body, recreating moments from his life, and revisiting his small role in a 1997 film. SINGLE COPY, alongside other 3 short films, will be presented in Currents’ “Program 5: The Medium Is the Message.”

For more information, please visit the NYFF website:

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Taiwanese Movie GET THE HELL OUT to screen at 2020 Toronto International Film Festival

Taiwanese up-and-coming Wang I-Fan’s debut feature GET THE HELL OUT(逃出立法院) is heading to 2020 Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness section, becoming the only Taiwanese film selected for the festival’s pandemic-era 45th edition. The section programmer, Peter Kuplowsky, states “Director Wang choreographs this chaos with a breathless deployment of gory slapstick, satirical sing-alongs, and hilarious, fourth-wall-shattering graphics, generating a formal silliness and elasticity akin to Stephen Chow’s mid-’90s nonsense comedies.”

GET THE HELL OUT describes the outbreak of a deadly virus in Taiwan’s Parliament infecting most of the congressmen and survivors try their best to escape from the hell. Using his imagination and humor, Wang creates this gory, zany and frenetic entertainment, as Kuplowsky describes it as a “gonzo, martial arts–infused horror-comedy.” 

Wang says he feels truly honored that GET THE HELL OUT is selected for the Midnight Madness section of which he has been dreamed of for a long time, and he is especially thrilled and moved to see the film’s still is placed side-by-side with SHADOW IN THE CLOUD’s, featuring “Hit-Girl” Chloë Grace Moretz.

Wang I-Fan is a director, screenwriter, and cinematographer who graduated from the Taipei National University of the Arts. In 2017, his short film 02-06(洞兩洞六) won Best Short at the Taipei Film Awards and Best Director at Taiwan’s Golden Harvest Awards.

GET THE HELL OUT is a movie of imagination. Young generation of filmmakers, like Wang I-Fan, boost innovation in Taiwan's vibrant democracy, the Taipei Cultural Center in New York says.

This horror-comedy will be screened twice at TIFF Bell Lightbox on Sept. 10, and then streamed online, geoblocked for Canada, at Bell Digital Cinema from Sept. 11, 6:00pm. For more information, please visit the TIFF website:


Taiwan | 2020 | 95min | Comedy & Horror | in Mandarin with Chinese & English subtitles
Director: WANG I-fan
Cast: Megan LAI, Bruce HUNG, WANG Chung-huang

WANG You-wei works as a Security Guard, aka Mr. Nose Bleeding, at the Parliament. By social standard, he is a total loser, very obscure, plain, and useless. One day, he gets involved with an incident, which makes the Parliament Member: HSIUNG Ying-ying, aka Miss Spice, loses her job. HSIUNG then asks WANG to replace her, at the next by-election, and she will be his assistant/behind-the-scene-boss. Therefore, a loser becomes a new member of the Parliament.

One day, there is a fatal virus, spreading inside the Parliament. Most of the members are infected, and they become zombies?! However, strangely, WANG is immune to that kind of zombie-virus due to his bleeding disorder, so, together, WANG and HSIUNG are leading the way, to get the hell out of the Parliament.

During the rescuer mission, WANG understands that if he tried to act his best and moved forward with all his heart and soul, he will make this place, the Parliament, and all the other places, good again, for this is his home, and this is his country. 


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2020 TaiwanFest- “The Survived” Online Beginning on August 28 E.T.!
Beginning on August 28 and lasting for a month, the Taiwanese Cultural Festival (TaiwanFest) takes place online this year. On August 29th 8:00 pm (ET), the Honorable Lee Yung-te (李永得) Minister of Culture, R.O.C (Taiwan), the Honorable Steven Guilbeault Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Honorable John Horgan Premier of British Columbia make opening speeches and express their greetings to Taiwanese and Canadian audience through the online concert, “The Island and the Maple Leaf” (島嶼的夢 楓葉的真).

In the beginning of the opening remarks, the minister, Lee Yung-te first expresses his utmost appreciation on behalf of Taiwan to Canadian artist, Taiwanese artists, staff members and volunteers. The minister remarks that due to the pandemic, the festival has turned into a virtual format. The program is still very rich and interesting. He encourages everyone to join online to experience the vitality of Taiwanese arts and cultures. He emphases that viruses do not harm us by genders or skin colors. That is why the theme of the festival this year is to call on everyone to focus on anti-racism. “I am different, just like you”. Through the exchange of arts and cultures globally; we will develop a deeper understanding of each other. In the end of the speech, he expresses his appreciation again to everyone in Mandarin, Taiwanese and Haka.

The Survived, the theme of the festival this year is to discover the unique culture and cultural influence of Taiwan. There are 7 online programs. The annual Opening Ceremony Symphony Concert virtually through “The Island and the Maple Leaf” is joined by the young musicians of Chin-Ai String Orchestra in Nantou, Taiwan (南投親愛愛樂弦樂團) and TaiwanFest Orchestra in Toronto. There are over 40 Hope Talks and Artist Talks to cover different topics. “We have to understand our roots to know what the future holds,” said Taiwanese film director, Te-Sheng Wei (魏德聖). The Hope Talks invites the director to give us a diverse and unique cinema experience as we walk alongside him through this remarkable film-making journey. The Artist Talks invites Taiwanese and Canadian artists to exchange their viewpoints and stories. “As the world is becoming a smaller and smaller place, while people’s curiosity and interests are growing.” said Robert Keer, the Artistic Director of 2010 Olympic Cultural Olympiad. Also the Virtual art Gallery like “Behind the Masks” and “I’m different, just lie you!”, Friendship Kitchen, Taiwan Bookstore, Films, interactive projects, Under the Same Sky that allows you to upload your work to express your opinions and creativity. Also planned is an in-person art installation called “Sky” in downtown Vancouver.

TaiwanFest is organized by the Asian-Canadian Special Events Association. The Ministry of Culture, Taiwan has sponsored it for many years. It has been the event introducing Taiwanese culture to Canada and forming connections between local and international artists and visitors through the arts.

To see the special and scheduled events on line, please visit website on:
Opening Ceremony Symphony Concert:
Click HERE: The Island and the Maple Leaf Concert, August 29, 8:00 PM-10:30 (ET):

Scheduled events include virtual exhibitions and talks:
Click HERE: Toronto beginning on August 28

Click HERE: Vancouver beginning on September 5

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