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Winners of the Taipei Film Festival 2016

tff_logo2016

We present the list of winners of the 18th Taipei Film Festival that took place from June 30th – July 16th, in Taipei, Taiwan.

International New Talent Competition
Grand Prize

0ab8e-dontlookDon’t Look At Me That Way by Uisenma Borchu
Germany, Mongolia | 2015 – 88 min.

Single mother Iva lives with her 5-year-old daughter, Sophia, and is struggling to make ends meet. One day they meet their new neighbour, the mysterious Hedi, who does what she likes and is not afraid of how the others see her. Slowly, Hedi works her way into Iva’s life, and the two women start a relationship.

What the jury said: The jury has great pleasure in giving the Grand Prize to a stunning movie for its vitality, its audacity and its mysterious beauty.

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Special Jury Prize

keeperKeeper by Guillaume Senez – Belgium, Switzerland, France | 2015 – 95 min.

Maxime and Mélanie are in love. Together, they clumsily explore their sexuality with fiery curiosity until the day Mélanie realises she’s pregnant. At first Maxime takes the news badly, but then he gets used to the idea of becoming a father. He convinces Mélanie to keep the baby. So it’s been decided – Maxime and Mélanie, both of fifteen years old, are going to become parents.

What the jury said: The jury acknowledged this as a mature work from a new director, demonstrating a deep analysis of character through cool, meticulous observation, combining an economy of style with precise technical execution on all levels.

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Special Mention

SandStormSand Storm by Elite Zexer – Israel | 2016 – 87 min.

In a Bedouin village in southern Israel, Jalila’s husband is marrying a second and younger wife. During the celebration, Jalila discovers her daughter Layla’s involvement with a boy. Burying the indignity of her husband and his new bride living next door, Jalila also tries to contain Layla’s situation by clamping down on her. But possessed of a boundless spirit, Layla sees a different life for herself…

What the jury said: Caught between tradition and her desire for freedom, SAND STORM is a perfectly told story of the struggles and sacrifice of a young Israeli woman. From the strong acting, the emotional reveals of plot and character, and the use of cinema language, the director shows confident control in every aspect of filmmaking. For a first feature, to use the words “great potential” would be an understatement to the achievements of this film. The jury unanimously recognizes SAND STORM for the special mention award.

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Audience’s Choice Awards

Lokah LaqiHang in there, kids! (Lokah Laqi!) by Laha Medow – Taiwan | 2016 – 90 min.

Watan, Chen Hao and Lin Shan are three Taiwanese aboriginal boys, who grew up and live in a mountain village. Miss Lawa, a physically challenged teacher, runs an afterschool class for the kids in the tribe. She has the most beautiful voice but has stopped singing until one day Watan discovers the old demo tape Lawa recorded years ago…

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Taipei Film Awards
Grand Prize Award

Lokah LaqiHang in there, kids! (Lokah Laqi!) by Laha Medow – Taiwan | 2016 – 90 min.

Best Narrative Feature Award

Lokah LaqiHang in there, kids! (Lokah Laqi!) by Laha Medow – Taiwan | 2016 – 90 min.

What the jury said: A low budget film delivered with strong ambition and creative sincerity to produce a fully rounded work with above average professional performances across all aspects of production. The film is full of energy, with the cast of aboriginal actors, most of them non-professionals, mutually supporting each other to create a wonderful dynamic performance that expresses the lives and culture clashes of the aboriginal community in the most moving way.

Best Documentary Award

hebei-taipeiHebei Taipei by Li Nien-Hsiu – Taiwan | 2015 – 92 min.

Li, a former soldier born in Hebei, China, joinedthe army just to survive. The war brought him to Taiwan, and he never had a chance to return to his hometown since. At the age of sixty, he decided to separate from his family, having no idea how his eventful life would come to an end…

What the jury said: The director documents her own father as he is caught in exceptional times, sacrificed by his country, and stuck on the verge of class and gender distinctions. Despite his suffering amid the turbulence of lost countries, he continues to survive. He presents a distinctive attitude to life that, despite the weight of history, cannot be generalized.

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Best Short Film Award

Anchorage ProhibitedAnchorage Prohibited by Chiang Wei Liang – Taiwan | 2015 – 17 min.

Migrant workers pursue employment opportunities abroad. Legislation to terminate and deport pregnant workers is commonplace in Asia and though many countries are beginning to annul such practices, income remains foremost priority for migrant workers. A child is an anchor for the family unit, but not where the stakes are high and anchorage is prohibited.

What the jury said: The film shows the isolated situation of an immigrant workers’ family using a simple, precise and sophisticated style. It assures the filmmaker’s solid talent and creates his interpretation of the world. It may be said that this film evokes the difficulties of refugees in various countries now.

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Best Animation Award

Crash TestingCrash Testing by Yuting Hsueh – Taiwan | 2015 – 4 min.

A crash test dummy wakes up. On the dark stage, in a car that stands still, it paints its face, feeling its own existence. When the signal is heard and the engine roars, the dummy carries out his duty. Its face leaves a print on the airbag. Countless prints of his face flip like a book. Then again, the signal is heard…

What the jury said: Using crash-test dummies as characters, and creating visual impact with colour, the film describes a limited life within limited conditions, but a life that leaves a mark. Although it is the story of a dummy, this short animation, presents the greatest dreams of common people in life.

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Best Director Award

Lokah LaqiLaha Mebow for Hang in there, kids! (Lokah Laqi!) – Taiwan | 2016 – 90 min.

What the jury said: All the actors are new actors, however, their performances are natural and well controlled. The script and dialogue is interesting and moving but not sentimental or excessively sweet. The pace of the narrative and editing is sharp and the cinematography excellent. It is the director who has undoubtedly brought these elements together so impressively.

Best Screenplay Award

Le MoulinHuang Ya-li for Le Moulin – Taiwan | 2015 – 162 min.

In the 1930s, forty years after the Japanese colonial rule in Taiwan began, the first modern art group – Le Moulin Poetry Society was founded. By looking into the impact of Le Moulin, we see the influence of the Western culture on the literature in East Asia before the Second World War and the development in Taiwanese literature under Japanese rule.

What the jury said: Using an epic timeframe, the script captures the uniqueness of the passionate Tainan intellectual Yang Chih-Chang, and Le Moulin Poetry Society, evoking the world of Taiwanese literature. Digesting a huge amount of documents and quoting from an immense archive, the script faithfully presents the life of an avant-garde poet with calm and controlled emotion. The script shows not only hard work but precise historical selection.

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Best Actress Award

tag-alongHsu Wei-ning for her roles in The Tag-Along (Wei-hao Cheng), White Lies, Black Lies (Lou Yi-An)
& End of a Century: Miea’s Story (Shen Ko-Shang).

What the jury said: Hsu Wei-Ning appears across both narrative feature and short films, each time leaving a strong impression, offering multiple dimensions. No matter whether it’s a darkly calculating character or one with guilty secrets buried deep, or excesses that border on self-destruction, she brings each character to life and fully demonstrating her range and diversity. Her potential is huge.

Best Actor Award

tagalongRiver Huang for his role in The Tag-Along (Cheng Wei-Hao) – Taiwan| 2015 – 93 min.

Working as an estate agent, Wei lives with his grandma. One day, his grandma has gone missing, and on the footage obtained from the surveillance camera, they spot a shadowy figure, which looks like a little girl in red following his grandma. While searching for his granny, Wei himself disappears, and his girlfriend is determined to bring him back.

What the jury said: With The Tag-Along being a horror film, the key plot does not focus on the actor and he does not take the most screen time. Nevertheless, although his character is a quite ordinary estate agent who wants only to buy a house and spend time with his lover, River Huang captures, through small details of behaviour and composure, a meticulous embodiment of a young person oppressed by an ordinary life. He makes the audience feel empathy and remember his character. This is not easy.

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Best Supporting Actress Award

maverick1Jian Man-shu for her role in Maverick (Cheng Wen-Tang) – Taiwan | 2015 – 117 min.

Soon after a young police officer reports for duty, he is confronted with the unspoken rules. There are people who cannot be questioned and cases that cannot be further investigated. Although he has been sidelined, he refuses to give up the old case. However, having spent so much time and effort, will he find out the truth or some long forgotten conscience?

What the jury said: Jian Man-Shu captures the essence of a working hostess that shows the difficulties and lack of choices in her life. The break-up scene with her boyfriend delivers a complexity of emotions and subtle changes of mood that is extraordinary.

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Best Supporting Actor Award

maverick2Chuang Kai-hsun for his role in Maverick (Cheng Wen-Tang) – Taiwan | 2015 – 117 min.

What the jury said: Playing a cynical policeman who borders the ambiguous line between right and wrong, Chuang Kai-Hsun brings out the essence of these ambiguities. Facing corruption in both politics and policing, a deep web that bankrupts an entire police station, and facing his own relationship difficulties, Chuang Kai-Hsun balances the emotional changes and delicately portrays the dilemma of a policeman who is a human being.

Best New Talent Award

Lokah LaqiEnsemble Cast for Hang in there, kids! [Lokah Laqi!] (Laha Medow)
Taiwan | 2016 – 90 min.

What the jury said: Buya Watan, Watan Silan, SuyanPito, Esther Huang, Tsao Shih-Huei, Mudi, Lin Jing-Lang, Sharon Kao, Uni Yeh, Chuang Chuen-Hua All ten actors are new performers and yet they show a wonderful chemistry, a great energy, and a mutual support that is intensely moving. With such performances the film portrays an aboriginal culture and its life that is more complete and real.

Best Music Award

City of JadeLim Giong for City of Jade (Midi Z) – Taiwan | 2016 – 98 min.

What the jury said: Award for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution (Music) A low-key melody strongly establishes the characters’ melancholy and uncertainty in the face of their reality. Given the subject’s situation and living space, the music creates a sonic field of proximity, making the audience feel directly present. With its fluidity, it creates a perfect combination of music and image.

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Best Editing Award

Lokah LaqiKenji Chen for Hang in there, kids! (Lokah Laqi!) (Laha Medow)
Taiwan | 2016 – 90 min.

What the jury said: Award for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution (Editing) When the director is faced with new, young, and inexperienced actors, capturing performances through cinematography alone is hard to control and raises the bar making editing relatively difficult. Therefore, the fluidity and precise tempo of the editor’s work should be acknowledged.

Best Cinematography Award

the-left-earZhao Fei for The Left Ear (Alec Su) – China | 2015 – 116 min.

The Left Ear is the film adaptation of Rao Xueman’s novel. The story progresses through protagonist Li Er’s point of view and different young personalities like Li Bala, Zhang Yang, Xu Yi, Jiang Jiao and Heiren, exploring the pain and beauty of growing up in the modern age. It’s a retelling of the memories of those born in the post-1980’s.

What the jury said: Award for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution (Cinematography) As well as using light to create rich texture and layered images, the cinematographer uses a precise and fluid lens to lead the audience deep inside the story and its complicated character relations and temporal changes. It’s a work of calm and deep effort, and of story-tellingwith a camera.

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Best Sound Design Award

Le MoulinLe Moulin by Huang Ya Li – Taiwan | 2015 – 162 min.

What the jury said: Award for an Outstanding Artistic Contribution (Sound Design) A film that uses a mass of sound archive to recreate the state of things. The effort and concentration put into the film’s sound design is immense but more than that, the use of music and sound effects faithfully anchors both time and narrative, successfully recreating the world and its aura, that was yet to disappear, with great command of the symbolism of sound.

Press Award

The taste of appleThe Taste of Apple by Kevin H.J. Lee – Taiwan | 2015 – 119 min.

In addition to deconstructing the development of Next Media in Taiwan, The Taste of Apple reflects the abnormal development of Taiwanese media and the casual adoption of self-censorship in the face of China and self-interests. When Taiwan’s freedom of the press must rely on a Hong Kong-based media group criticised as “sensationalist” for its defence, we are truly witnessing the greatest ironies.

What the jury said: This documentary doesn’t just look at Taiwan from a media perspective, it also brings out reflections on its society. Director Lee, who himself comes from a media background, explains clearly the key events of Next Media since the 90s, including their impact on the traditional press, and later to its system. The press jury believe this choice is not just because this a documentary about the press, but that the film has a perspective for everyone and issues that may be difficult are in fact in everyone’s life. The audience can deeply feel how close these are in relation to themselves. So in the spirit of the Press Award, as the information provider for society we unanimously agree to give the award to this film.

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Audience Choice Award

the-tenants-downstairsThe Tenants Downstairs by Adam Tsuei – Taiwan | 2016 – 115 min.

A loafer inherits an apartment block and lets out the place to a group of tenants, including a lusty gymnastics teacher, a geeky college student, a single father with his young daughter, a gay couple, a writer and a sexy female office worker. An incredible story is about to unfold as they start their lives in the same building.

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Outstanding Contribution Award

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Taipei Documentary Filmmaker’s Union

The Taipei Documentary Filmmakers’ Union is actively involved in researching and publishing works on Taiwanese documentary; they have conducted oral history projects on such a large scale that a written record of more than one million Chinese characters is compiled. Moreover, it quickly and sensitively responds to all social movements in Taiwan. For instance, as soon as the students occupied the parliament in March 2014, an action later known as “Sunflower Movement”, the Union gathered dozens of its members and launched a crowfunding website to raise production fund. In six months, the documentary, Sunflower Occupation, was completed, and it is a visual record of an important student and civil rights moment in the Taiwanese history.

 

To know more about this festival please visit the FESTIVAL PROFILE or go to the official webpage of the festival HERE.

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