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Europe seen as ideal partner to boost Taiwan's film industry globally

2024-02-21
Focus Taiwan
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Paris-based Taiwanese film producer Vincent Wang is pictured at the the Berlin International Film Festival in the German capital in this recent photo. CNA photo Feb. 19, 2024
Paris-based Taiwanese film producer Vincent Wang is pictured at the the Berlin International Film Festival in the German capital in this recent photo. CNA photo Feb. 19, 2024

Berlin, Feb. 18 (CNA) Taiwan's film industry could benefit most effectively from partnerships with its counterparts in Europe, given their inclination to collaborate across borders and on smaller productions, a Taiwanese producer in France said recently.

Such partnerships would be ideal for Taiwan's film industry, not only to expand its global visibility but also to help build the country's soft power, said Vincent Wang (王琮), who is based in Paris.

The European film industry is more closely aligned with Taiwan's, and they both share some key similarities, Wang said in a recent interview with CNA at the Berlin International Film Festival that ran from Feb. 15 to 25.

The spectrum of art films in Europe, for example, ranges from large-scale productions to smaller ones, including numerous independent films, which aligns closely with the production model in Taiwan, Wang said.

In contrast, the productions in Hollywood and South Korea are usually on a much larger commercial scale, which means that the Taiwan film industry's relatively small investments would be considered "only a drop in the ocean," he said.

Furthermore, the European film industry is more accustomed to cross-border collaborative work and is therefore a more suitable partner for Taiwan in its global integration efforts, Wang said.

Collaboration between the Taiwanese and European film industries on small and medium-sized projects would help to diversify investment risks, as there would be no need to allocate large funds to a single film, he said.

"Through such collaboration, Taiwanese producers could actively participate in projects and stand on an equal footing with their European counterparts," he said.

Furthermore, it would give Taiwanese actors and film crews the opportunity to meaningfully participate in beneficial international collaboration, Wang said, adding that young people would also be motivated to enter the industry, thus ensuring continuity.

It would not be a scenario of "simply running errands or handling translation work," as is likely on American blockbusters, Wang added.

He said there are multiple award-winning directors in Taiwan who have been instrumental in raising the country's profile in the field of artistic and creative film making.

Among them are Taiwanese Edward Yang (楊德昌) and Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), and Taiwan-based

Malaysian Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮), who have paved the way for others, Wang said.

Their achievements should be valued and incorporated into the efforts to collaborate with the European film industry, he added.

"Taiwan is about more than just [semiconductor] chips, steamed buns, and bubble tea," he said, naming some of the things for which Taiwan is best known.

Wang has been involved in the production of some of Tsai Ming-liang's films, including "I Don't Want to Sleep Alone" (2006) and "Face" (2009).

In recent years, Wang has also worked on international productions that involved Taiwan, including "Dead & Beautiful" (2021) and "Black Tea" (2024).

The latter will be in contention for the Golden Bear Award at this year's Berlin Film Festival, according to the state-run Taiwan Creative Content Agency.

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