Taiwan documentary week in Prague

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Venue: Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts and Svět knihy (Veletržní palác)

Prior to the 1980s documentary was a marginalised form of filmmaking in Taiwan. However since the turn of the new century, documentary filmmaking on the island has evolved into an enthusiastic cultural practice, almost outshining the significance of feature films. Many Taiwanese documentaries are made by the Public Television System (PTS), which created a documentary platform, View Point (jilu guandian), in 1999. Several projects shown on View Point proved to be commercially successful in the 2000s when they enjoyed theatrical release. The rise of documentaries in Taiwan has enriched the local cultural milieu for it indicates that local audience’s taste and choice in films has been extended to different forms of content and filmmaking. It also suggests that Taiwan’s film and television industries are no longer an exclusively local and insular operation as labour, money and ideas flow between different audio-visual sectors and locations.

Taiwan Documentary Week aims to provide the general public in the Czech Republic with an intimate and lively glimpse of contemporary Taiwan society by bringing to Prague a series of high-quality, diversified and recent Taiwanese documentaries. Through the public screenings and direct interactions with filmmakers, scholars and industry insiders, the organisers hope to facilitate meaningful exchanges and cross-cultural dialogues between Taiwan and its friends in Europe.

The event will conclude with a roundtable session, “The Vitality and Sustainability of Taiwan Documentary”, on 16 May 2015 with following participants: Taiwanese filmmakers and producers: TSAI Chung-Lung 蔡崇隆, LIN Leh-chyun 林樂群, Tawianese scholars: Ming-yeh RAWNSLEY 蔡明燁, KUO Li-hsin 郭力昕, Chinese scholar: YU Ming 喻溟, Taiwan based British filmmaker Dean Jonson, and Czech filmmakers and scholars: Kateřina Procházková, Saša Dlouhý, Haruna Honcoop and Viera Langerová. The discussion will address more universal questions that are not necessarily Taiwan-specific, for example, what are good documentaries? How to balance quality and popularity (is there really conflict between the two)? Where does vitality and creativity of (Taiwan) documentary filmmaking lie? What conditions may increase or reduce the sustainability of a documentary industry? What are the similarities and differences between documentaries made in Taiwan and in other countries? Where can we situate Taiwanese documentaries in the international markets?

Pavel Sladký from Czech radio Vltava with the help of Haruna Honcoop made interview with Ming-yeh Rawnsley and Yu Ming – the Czech translation of the interview and article are here:

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