Taiwan’s VR Films and Interactive Projects at Venice Immersive – Competition Titles

The Man Who Couldn't Leave
The Walkers Films

Taiwan at Venice 2022 — Venice Immersive Competition

“All That Remains” – Director: Craig Quintero

Among the latest explorers in the VR realm is Riverbed Theatre, a “total theater” company that was formed in Taipei in 1998 and combines visual and performing arts. “All That Remains” is directed by the company’s artistic director Craig Quintero. The film challenges audiences’ perceptions of truth by questioning the possibilities beyond the everyday patterns that are constructed from known facts and familiarity. The idea is to nudge viewers out of their comfort zone. It positions itself as a meditation on the malleability of facts and the increasingly fluid boundary between truth and fiction as humans are facing unprecedented alienation from each other. The film was financially backed by a grant from the Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA). 

“The Man Who Couldn’t Leave” – Director: Singing Chen

In this VR offering “The Man Who Couldn’t Leave,” director Singing Chen, who is best known for her documentary films (“God, Man, Dog,” “The Walkers”), transports the audience to the former Green Island prison where a political detainee named A-Kuen recounts the political persecution in Taiwan during the 1950s. The White Terror period was conducted by the Kuomintang (or nationalist party), which fled mainland China after losing the civil war to the Communist Party in 1949. It lasted until 1987 when martial law was lifted. With Taiwan now free and democratically-ruled, the days of repression are in the island’s past, but to Chen and her crew, history and certain stories should not be forgotten. Chen uses the immersive format to bring this chapter of Taiwan’s history to life, through the form of political prisoners’ letters to family which were never delivered. The film is also nominated for the 2022 Kaohsiung Film Festival’s VR competition.

“Red Tail” – Director: Fish Wang 

In this fantastical piece by the Golden Horse Award winning director and animation artist Fish Wang (“Gold Fish,” “City of Lost Things”), a boy is drawn to a mysterious red tail and chases it around. This leads him onto a journey through magical places and encounters with fabled creatures. But as he reaches the end of the journey, he learns the adventure is not about taking him to places he had never imagined, but a venture into his own memory, sadness and hidden secrets. “Red Tail” is the fruit of two years of labor. It was featured in the XR competition at the New Images Festival in Paris earlier this year and won the jury’s special mention award.