Diplomats express support for Taiwan int’l women’s film festival

Taipei,  Newly arrived officials in foreign representative offices in Taiwan on Thursday threw their weight behind an annual international film festival in Taipei that aims to raise awareness and focus on issues that affect women and society.

At a press conference for the “27th Women Make Waves Int’l Film Festival, Taiwan,” Diane Sovereign, chief of the Public Diplomacy Section at the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT), said that her office has forged a close cooperation with the organizers and strongly supports the festival for providing a platform for female filmmakers.

She commended the festival for challenging gender stereotypes and promoting women filmmakers by giving a more gender balanced view of the world.

“To see all those young, shy women filmmakers up there, they seem surprised to be called up but they have a voice. Maybe they are shy personally, but their films have a great voice,” said Sovereign, who arrived in Taiwan a month ago.

Sovereign noted that this year is the seventh year that the AIT has provided a grant or other forms of support for the film festival.

She commended the festival organizers for their passion in film and also their support for female filmmakers, pointing out that there are seven U.S. films in the festival, including the American cultural classic 1923 black and white film “Salome.”

“It (‘Salome’) has now become adopted as part of the queer film genre many many years after it was made, so thank you for including U.S. films,” Sovereign said.

She also cited close ties that Taiwan and U.S. share in promoting equal rights and praised the leadership of President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文), Taiwan’s first female president.

“The U.S. has always tried to be in the forefront of equal rights and Taiwan is such a strong partner in that. You have a woman president, who is a strong woman president that is leading your country through the COVID-19 pandemic and is doing a great job,” Sovereign told CNA.

Meanwhile, Nicolas Rouilleault, head of film, TV, music, and VR at the French representative office, who assumed office this week, said he is very enthusiastic in supporting the festival because it recognizes the contributions of Taiwanese female filmmakers to the film industry.

This year, the French Office in Taipei supported the festival through a program entitled “Pionnières du cinéma D’Alice Guy à Agnès Varda: les inventrices du cinéma” (The female pioneers of cinema from Alice Guy to Agnès Varda: the female inventors of cinema).

It focuses on six long-forgotten female filmmakers, said Pierre Goulange, Head of Political Affairs, Press and Communication Section at the French representative office, in a follow-up email.

Beyond the program, the French Office supports the festival for its continuous commitment to highlighting talented female filmmakers from all over the world to the Taiwanese audience, Goulange said.

“It is even more important for us as gender equality is a priority for the French government,” Goulange said. “Supporting this Festival is a way for us to contribute to the promotion of gender equality and fundamental rights in Taiwan.”

A total of 76 films will be screened at the “27th Women Make Waves Int’l Film Festival, Taiwan,” held Oct. 16-25 at the SPOT-Huashan Cinema in Taipei, said Pecha Lo (羅珮嘉), director of the festival.

The theme of this year’s festival, “Femture,” a combination of the words “feminism” and “future,” aims to encourage people to think about the future of women and feminism, Lo said, adding that the concept stresses the future’s complexity and delivers an introduction open to interpretation.

The festival will also include a Taiwan Competition section, which is now in its seventh edition, to showcase 15 films selected from over 110 entries by female Taiwanese directors, Lo said.

One of the nominated films is an 87-minute documentary, titled “The Lucky Woman,” which follows a Vietnamese migrant caretaker who ran away from her job to work illegally.

It was shot and edited over eight years, and directed by Tseng Wen-chen (曾文珍), who won Best Documentary for another one of her works at the 39th Golden Horse Awards, considered the Oscars of the Chinese-language film industry.

Winners of prizes for the Taiwan Competition will be announced at a ceremony on Oct. 22, according to a statement issued by the festival.

The Taiwan Competition was launched in 2014 to introduce films by female Taiwanese directors.


Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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