New, improved Taipei fest puffs up

Event features more pix, preems, prize money

TAIPEI — With more pictures, more premieres and more prize money to offer moviegoers and filmmakers, the eighth Taipei Film Festival claims to be the “biggest little festival” on the international circuit. Fest unspools June 24-July 9 in Taiwan’s capital city.

Event, which focuses on Canadian cinema this year, opens with Jean-Marc Vallee’s “C.R.A.Z.Y.” and closes with Atom Egoyan’s “Where the Truth Lies.” Some 150 feature-length pics and shorts screen in between.

Twelve productions compete for a top purse of roughly $30,000 in the Intl. New Talent Competition, open to tyro and sophomore projects from filmmakers of any nationality.

The Taipei Grand Award for local filmmakers sees 27 narrative films, documentaries, experimental pics and animated shorts competing for top honors.

Picking up early buzz in competition is Taiwanese helmer Cheng Yu-chieh’s “Do Over,” which could win the Taipei Grand Award. In a vote of confidence from the pan-Asian jury, “Do Over” also competes in the international section. Intense drama, which centers around troubled individuals whose lives occasionally intersect, fractures its narrative timeline and continually circles back upon itself to a final moment of redemption for its characters.

The Taipei Image Award goes to the best local short shot on digital video by an amateur filmmaker. Shorts explore the theme of living in Taipei.

Fest is not intended as a buyer’s or seller’s market but mainly as a vehicle to promote local films and give moviegoers on the island a chance to view pics from around the world.

Event’s strongest suit, however, is a comprehensive slate of recent and yet-to-be-screened Chinese-language pics from the fest’s backyard. In all, 12 productions from the Asian region preem at the festival.

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