“Detention,” a school-set thriller-horror sited during Taiwan’s martial law or White Terror period, was Sunday named as best narrative feature at the Taipei Film Award, the closing event of the Taipei Film Festival.
The film, adapted from a Red Candle video game, also claimed the best actress, best art design, best visual effects and best sound design awards. The jury called the film “courageous” for making a stand at this time. International and regional political relations are simmering in Asia following the coronavirus outbreak, power grabs by authoritarian leaders, and the introduction of the National Security Law in Hong Kong. The jury described “Detention” as “a significant work to history and film history in Taiwan.”
Last year it was the top grossing film of 2019 at the Taiwan box office and scooped five prizes at the Golden Horse Awards. It was been banned in mainland China, both for its political subject matter and because a one of Red Candle’s earlier video games contained an in-game poster that appeared to make fun of Chinese president Xi Jinping.
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The Taipei festival was one of the first anywhere in the world to be held in front of a live audience since the World Health Organization declaration of COVID-19 as a pandemic. Unlike countries and territories elsewhere, Taiwan did not require its cinemas to close, though audience numbers dipped significantly.
The festival run June 25 to July 11, 2020. The prize ceremony was held the at the Zhongshan Hall in Taipei.
Other juried awards went to basketball film “We Are Champions,” which scored three major awards: best director, best cinematography, and outstanding artistic contribution, for its action choreography; and “The Gangs, The Oscars, and The Walking Dead,” which won best screenplay, best supporting actress and best makeup & costume design.
Veteran performer, Mo Tzu-yi was the unanimous winner of the best actor award for playing the role of a tenant who looked after the mother of his boyfriend who passed away in “Dear Tenant.” Gingle Wang was best actress for her performance in “Detention.”
The best new talent award was taken by Li Li-rong, for his performance in “See You, Sir.” He was lauded for creating a full and layered character.
The press award went to “Whale Island,” a journey with a oceanographic and ecological bent. “We Are Champions” collected the audience award.