Helmer on the rise
A contender for the hardest working helmer in town is Taiwan’s Leste Chen. Youngster has his first two features in the festival — gay drama “Eternal Summer” in New Currents and genre horror piece “The Heirloom” in Midnight Passion — plus his third project in the PPP.
“I was determined to make “Eternal Summer” before I turned 25,” says Chen, who admits he got into filmmaking because he was unhappy and felt rejected as a kid.
He entertained himself by making short films on a DV camera and doing the editing on a Mac. “It is very satisfying to have learned so much making these different films and, with the features, to discover that Taiwanese audiences are still capable of reacting positively to a good film that is well marketed.”
New project for PPP is “Redemption,” a dark fantasy about the options — love, glory or revenge — a man might choose if he were brought back from the dead for three days.
While there is little in genre terms that connects Chen’s films to date, he says recurring themes include “my own value system, which always sees some of the dark side of life,” and strong visual identity which may stem from his training as a commercial designer. Not surprising then that Chen peppers his conversation with references to Wong Kar-wai and Peter Jackson, but says that his favorite helmer is probably Pedro Almodovar.