Taiwan Film Industry Shines At 66th Berlin Film Festival

Taiwan Film Industry Shines At 66th Berlin Film Festival
Photo Credit:AP/達志影像

What you need to know

“Crosscurrent” was the only Chinese production in the 18 films competing for the Golden Bear and Silver Bear awards this year; while "Anchorage Prohibited" was awarded the Audi Short Film Award, and depicts the struggles of international workers in Taiwan.

Translated and compiled by Bing-sheng Lee

The awards ceremony of the 66th Berlin International Film Festival was held on February 20, and Taiwanese cinematographer, Mark Lee Ping Bin, won a Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution with his cinematography in the Chinese film, “Crosscurrent.” In addition, Chiang Wei-liang, a Singaporean director currently studying filmmaking in Taiwan, received the Audi Short Film Award with his short film, “Anchorage Prohibited.”

Most of the storyline in “Crosscurrent” takes place on a river, so the shooting conditions were extremely tough. The production team spent more than two months on boats. Since not every scene had a chance to be recaptured, the timing for shooting was very important and Lee suggested using 35mm film to enhance shooting quality in the dark. His professional judgment and advanced techniques played a big part in winning the award.

This is Lee’s first time winning an award in the Berlin Film Festival in his thirty years in the film industry.

“Crosscurrent” was the only Chinese production in the 18 films competing for the Golden Bear and Silver Bear awards this year.

(Trailer for “Crosscurrent")

Among the prizes of the international short film jury, Chiang’s “Anchorage Prohibited,” produced in Taiwan, won the Audi Short Film Award and a prize of EU$ 20,000 (approximately US$22,200). At the ceremony, Chiang said, “Originally, Anchorage Prohibited was just a student film. I was already very happy that it could be selected into the Golden Horse Film Festival and Golden Harvest Awards. I didn’t expect the film could also represent Taiwan to compete in Berlin Film Festival. I feel greatly honored.” He also said that he believes his film still has a lot of room for improvement.

China Times reports, “Anchorage Prohibited” depicts a Vietnamese couple, of which both are international workers in Taiwan and have no choice but to sell their infant under the huge financial burden of mortgages, loan, and commissions.

(Clip from “Anchorage Prohibited")

Chiang describes his movie as “silent.” There are few conversations in the 16-minute film and some lines do not even have subtitles. The director says this is intended to create more space for the audience to contemplate and feel the movie. “If the film can inspire the audience to contemplate on what the story tries to explore, then we have achieved what we want,” Chiang adds.

Chiang graduated from the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication & Information, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, with a degree in Communication Studies. He is currently pursuing a Master of Fine Arts at the Taipei National University of the Arts. Chiang was also invited to attend the Golden Horse Film Academy in 2014.

Israeli winner in Berlin Film Festival calls Israeli government “fascist”

“Anchorage Prohibited” is not the only film that focuses on social issues in this year’s film festival. “Junction 48,” a film directed by Israeli director Udi Aloni, tells the story of a young Arab-Israeli couple from Lod, in central Israel, who use their songs to criticize Israeli politics and the patriarchal system in their Arab village.

“Junction 48″ was awarded the Panorama Audience Award for best fiction film in the festival.

Independent reports, at a Q&A session about his film, Aloni called the Israeli government “fascist" and urged Germany to cease its military support of the Jewish state. He called Israel a “democracy of white people" and criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s support for Israel saying, “Merkel does not mention the occupation and sells submarines to Netanyahu to continue such things.”

But Aloni later clarified that his comments “were directed against the Israeli government and not against the country, which I love."

“In contrast to the prime minister who spreads hatred, my movie spreads love and co-existence," Aloni says.

Full awards list of the 66th Berlin International Film Festival

Edited by Olivia Yang

China Times
Apple Daily
“Israeli winner of Berlin Film Festival brands Netanyahu government ‘fascist’” (Independent)
“Israeli Movies Win Audience Awards at Berlin Film Festival” (Haaretz)
“Israeli film winner in Berlin blasts Netanyahu’s ‘fascist’ government” (The Times of Israel)