Film festival: a good opportunity to know the story behind the film

One of the advantages of attending a film festival is that you have the opportunity to see the film’s creative staff, and you can ask the filmmakers any questions after watching the film.

At the end of 2016, a criminal suspense film “The Blood of Youth” released in mainland China caught the attention of the media. Due to the strict film censorship system in China, the creative space for crime-related films is extremely limited. After undergoing a change of release schedule, the media and the public were full of curiosity about the direction of the plot and how far is the screen willing to show the blood and violence. As the plot of release edition differs from the initial trailer, it can be seen that the film was re-edited before the release. From the interviews with the director and many actors, it can be seen that under the pressure of the review system, the director deleted many important plots and even changed the ending.


In order to solve the doubts in my heart, I decided to watch “The Blood of Youth” again at the Annual Cross-Strait Film Exhibition after seeing that the director Yang Shu-peng would attend the meeting after screening. In the released version, a hacker boy arranged a game in order to avenge for his beloved girl. The police who had neglected his duty and injured the girl, the girl’s father who killed her mother, the wife of the girl’s father, and the classmate who caused the girl’s death were all guided into the game. In the end, the boy killed the girl’s father and the classmates, he also lost his lives in the fight and left clues to let the police know all the truth and deeply regret his previous dereliction of duty. The film’s handling of certain details was also considered by the media to be a tribute to Park Chan-wook’s classic crime film “Old Boy”.


After the screening of the film, the director naturally talked about the original story that the audience cares about. According to director Yang’s description, in the script used in the filming, there was also an emotional entanglement between the girl’s father’s wife and the police, which was also a part of the boy’s layout. From the picture, the original cut was also full of more violent images, but has to be deleted for the censorship system. Similarly, in the initial stage of script creation, director Yang conceived a perfect criminal process for the young boy. As the big boss, the boy set the game to let all the adults who have done bad things kill each other and subtly retreat himself.


In summary, the festival provides a platform for fans to communicate with filmmakers, giving fans a chance to learn about the story behind filmmaking. At the same time, the version released at the festival may differ from the public release version.

My volunteer experience at 51th Golden Horse Awards

Holding a film festival, especially those large-scale competition-style film festivals, requires enormous manpower in addition to financial resources. In this case, in addition to the staff of the organizer, a large number of volunteers will be recruited to serve the film screenings and awards ceremony. Volunteers refer to the film festival, the common scope of work includes ticket checking, screening, VIP reception and so on. The festival may also recruit volunteers in batches based on different positions.

My first film festival tour was at the 51st Golden Horse Film Festival in Taipei. Because the director Lou Ye’s “Blind Massage” was screening there. At the same time, I was also fortunate to have a special volunteer experience at the awards ceremony of the 51st Golden Horse Film Festival. I took a close look at how the award ceremony worked.


All awards ceremony began with a red carpet, so did the Golden Horse Awards. In the initial red carpet session, some volunteers went to the red carpet and others stayed in the awards hall. I was responsible for staying in the hall to guide the guests. In addition to me, there are three other volunteers with me. We are responsible for the corresponding areas of the four different entrances. During the red carpet, there were continuous guests entering the hall, and the on-site staff also adjusted the stage lighting and audio equipment. In the nearly two hours before the start of the ceremony, there was nothing left to help the guests other than finding the seat or informing the location of the toilet.


When the auditorium was gradually filled, it means that the award ceremony was about to begin. In the meanwhile, the second wave of volunteer work would also begin. Before the official live broadcast of the ceremony, there was still a period of advertising. In addition to guiding the flow of guests and reminding guests of the remaining time before the live broadcast, it was also very important to count the number of people, that is, to confirm whether someone was seated in the seating area that the camera would take. Some performers or awarding guests were preparing in the background. At this time, their seats were empty. So some volunteers need to sit in the seats of the guests to prevent the camera from photographing an empty seat (A volunteer I know sat on Director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s seat the whole ceremony, which was next to actress Gwei Lun-me). And my task was to control the flow of people during the advertising breakaway, that is, to open and close the door during each advertising period. During the live broadcast, no one was allowed to enter or leave the hall.


Although the work of volunteers was actually very simple, it was a great opportunity to experience the operation of the festival. At the same time, in this experience, I also knew many people who love movies, and also have the opportunity to meet a lot of “big man” in the film industry.

What is the significance of the Golden Horse Award for the Chinese film industry?

Compared with the three gold trophies of the three major European film festivals, the Chinese film industry also has three heavyweight awards: the Golden Rooster Award in the Mainland China, Hong Kong Film Awards in Hong Kong and the Golden Horse Award in Taiwan. Today, with the development of Chinese-language films step by step, the Golden Horse Awards have always been regarded as the fairest and most indicative Chinese film awards.


The Golden Horse Award, founded in 1962, is a film award held in Taiwan. It was established to promote filmmaking in Taiwan and to recognize filmmakers who have made outstanding contributions to Chinese film culture. The Golden Horse Awards welcome annual entries from Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mainland China and other Chinese speaking areas. The nominations and results of 24 awards are decided by a group of jurors consisting of film professionals; their deliberations take place after they view every single film. Apart from the official awards, there is also an Audience Choice Award and a Fipresci Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award and Special Contribution Award are recommended by film societies and decided by the Executive Committee of the Festival. The Lifetime Achievement Award and Special Contribution Award are recommended by film societies and decided by the Executive Committee of the Festival.


At the same time, Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival will be held before the Golden Horse Awards in November every year. Different types of films from different countries can apply for screening. Of course, all the Golden Horse Award finalists will also appear in the film festival.

The advantage of arranging the film festival a few weeks before the awards ceremony is that the filmmakers and nominated actor will attend the interviews after screening which is also a good opportunity for film fans to share their feelings with the filmmakers.

In addition to the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival attached to the Golden Horse Awards, there is also the Golden Horse Fantastic Film Festival, which was founded in 2010. It covers science fiction, horror, thrill, musical, comedy, martial arts, animation, romance and cult films, leading fans to open their hearts and explore Imagine the limits. Held in Taipei every April, GHFFF also carefully planned the topics of Roman Polanski, Sam Raimi, Álex de la Iglesia, David Lynch, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson, Ben Wheatley and Kudo Kankuro to expand the alternative vision of fans.


The purpose of the film festival is to provide a platform for excellent films, but discovering and cultivating outstanding new filmmakers is also one of the key factors driving the flourishing of the film industry. The Golden Horse Film Academy, headed by Hou Hsiao-hsien as the dean, recruits 10-12 potential scriptwriters, directors and photographers from the Chinese-speaking region gather in Taiwan. Inspire each other’s ideas, share experiences and exchanges, then teamed-up with one another and given a month’s time for shooting and producing collaborative short film for screening at the Golden Horse Film Festival. During the period, excellent Chinese filmmakers will be invited to serve as instructors, giving suggestions on scripts, directors, photography and other aspects, and holding different film lectures to share the practical experience of professional filmmakers.

The work of the Golden Horse Executive Committee is not just to run an award, a film festival, but also to continuously transport talents and resources for the Chinese film industry.



A quick review of my first MIFF experience

This was not my first time participating in a film festival, but was the first time in Australia. I chose two Asian films that have been selected for the competition of this year’s Cannes International Film Festival. They are the Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s “Burning” and the Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters”. In addition, many other films that have shown at the Cannes Film Festival were also presented at the Melbourne International Film Festival. There are also a number of films that have been shown in many international film festivals but have not yet been released screened here.

The film “Burning” is adapted from the Japanese writer Murakami Haruki’s short story “Barn Burning”, it tells an entangled love story after three young people with different experiences meet. This suspense film full of symbols and metaphors won the highest score in history in Cannes, and was once regarded as the “big hit” for winning the Golden Palm Award. Compared with the repressed tone of “Burning”, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” focus on exposing the social problem. At the same time, it is also a warm family film. The vivid characters are very deeply rooted in the hearts of the viewers, and eventually won the biggest award in Cannes.

I have watched both movies in the comedy theatre, and both of them are full. During the filming process, I also felt the cultural differences. When the Australian audience laughed because of a certain shot or a certain line, I felt that I could not understand.


Turning back to the film festival itself, unlike the well-known Cannes International Film Festival, the Berlin International Film Festival and other famous Competitive Feature Fim Festivals, the Melbourne International Film Festival is not a competition-oriented film festival, so there is no red carpet or awards ceremony, and the film festival is more focused on the films itself. Founded in 1952, the Melbourne Film Festival is the first film festival in the Southern Hemisphere and is also one of the most watched film festivals. It is held once a year for two weeks. Each year, a number of films from all over the world are screened to celebrate the brilliant achievements of the film, and to praise the filmmakers who have made artistic contributions to various fields in the film industry. During the two-week period, approximately 300 films will be screened, as well as presenting the latest developments in the Australian and international film industry, presenting a wide range of films, including feature films, short films, documentaries, cartoons, experimental films and multimedia films. Although the Melbourne International Film Festival is not based on competitions, there are also short film competitions.

For me, the film festival is a good opportunity to watch unreleased films, especially some independent films. Due to the limitations of the theme or the market, many internationally high-profile movies cannot be released on a global scale, and the film festival has become the best time to watch these films. Similarly, for filmmakers, the festival also provides them with the opportunity to showcase and observe market reactions. Similarly, the Melbourne International Film Festival provides a platform for many documentary and non-commercial films, promoting cultural exchanges.