Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh Returns to Edinburgh This October

Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh announces the full programme for its third edition, featuring a line-up of Taiwanese films that will be screening in both Summerhall and Everyman cinemas this October. From short films to documentaries, many of which will be having their UK premiere as part of this year’s festival, this year’s programme offers a unique glimpse into Taiwan’s film heritage. This year’s theme of the (un)Usuals, shines a light on the people, events, relationships that usually fall outside of the mainstream experience and are shown via six feature and five short films.

In recent years, there has been an upsurge in attention towards Taiwanese cinema throughout global film communities. This growing but still nascent interest served as a reminder that much of Taiwanese film is still overlooked in contemporary film discussions, and so the Taiwan Film Festival Edinburgh was created to champion this often under-appreciated film culture.  

The first of 3 strands that make up this year’s programme is Shorts: Being Alone Together, a programme inspired by the famous quote “no man is an island” from English poet John Donne. The strand features two shorts from Taiwan such as the stop-motion animation Where Am I Going and Can You Hear Me? following a person witnessing his family dealing with his death. The strand also features films from outside Taiwan including Siren from Japanese director Nobuyuki Miyake and A Taxi of Coldness from South Korean director Joonha Kim.

The second strand Doc Replay: Portraits presents two documentaries, each charting one person’s life as they navigate their goals and struggles. When The Dawn Comes tells the story of Chi Chia-Wei, the first person in Taiwan to publicly come out as gay and who also dedicated his life to raising awareness around AIDS. The Catch is a portrait of the camaraderie and hardship experienced by indigenous nomadic eel-catching fishermen, as they set up camp along Taiwan’s Lanyang River.

The third strand of this year’s programme is a retrospective of the complex and hugely influential career of Chen Yi-Wen. Chen played many a supporting role in Taiwanese films and TV before and went on to become a celebrated playwright, screenwriter and director in his own right. The retrospective features a hand-picked selection of films from Chen’s acting career including The Man From Island West, Growing Pains, Increasing Echo and Treat or Trick. Audiences can also look forward to enjoying The Cabbie (2000), directed by Chen which won him the Grand Jury Award at the Golden Horse Awards. 

Chief Curator at the Festival Liu Kuan-Ping said, “Although streaming at home is a comfortable and convenient way to enjoy cinema, I still prefer sitting in the dark with other people, people who enjoy the big screen experience as much as I do. I am so glad that we can meet our audiences in person this year!”

 “People think of Asian cultures as collective cultures. You are told not to stand out, not to be different, since childhood. We want to show people that being unusual is not all that bad.” 

Tickets are now available to book on taiwanfilmfestival.org.uk. All screenings are priced at £8 and £6 concession. 

Irene Brown

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