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‘Beauty’ Celebrated at Debut Taoyuan Festival

Taiwanese county sets out stall as movie-making destination

HONG KONG — “Beyond Beauty,” a big budget documentary detailing the clash between civilization and the natural environment, will kick off the first edition of the Taoyuan Intl. Film Festival in Taiwan.

The non-competitive festival will run Oct. 11-20 in Taoyuan, the county just outside capital city Taipei.

The festival is the initiative of the Cultural Affairs Bureau of Taoyuan, which recently also launched a Film Office intended to attract film crews and assist with locations. Benjamin Tchang, the bureau’s director, says he want to make Taoyuan a “movie city.”

The selection will include a large contingent of high profile titles that have played at other recent festivals. They include Jim Jarmusch’s “Only Lovers Left Alive,” Takashi Miike’s “Shield of Straw,” Rithy Panh’s “The Missing Picture,” David Lowery’s “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” Clio Barnard’s “The Selfish Giant” and Hong Sang-soo’s “Our Sunhi.” The festival will close with a screening of James Gray’s “The Immigrant.”

A strong Asian contingent includes Australia-Laos drama “The Rocket,” Indian melodrama “Kai po che,” South Korean thriller “The Berlin File” and Midi Z’s Taiwan-Myanmar co-production “Poor Folk.” The festival will give the world premiere screening  to “The Journey” a road movie by acclaimed Malaysian TV executive-turned-filmmaker Chiu Keng-guan (aka ‘Chiu.)

Documentaries include “The Act of Killing” and “Red Obsession” and the fest finds house room for a restored version of Satyajit Ray’s classic “The Coward.” A tribute section will honor Japanese writer-director Kankuro Kudo.

Entirely made up of aerial footage, “Beyond Beauty – Taiwan From Above” (pictured) has a budget of $3 million, said to be the highest ever for a Taiwan-made documentary, and was executive produced by the veteran Hou Hsiao-hsien. It was directed by documentarian Chi Po-lin.

The festival is also providing generous grants totaling $320,000 to four upcoming film projects: “Escapee,” the directorial debut of actor Chang Shih; “Tigress” by “Jump Ashin!” director Lin Yu-Hsien; “Wish List” by James Hsin and “In The Water” by Chen Nien Ko.

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