Summer is a season to sweat and feel young. Having kicked off the “Youth” series film festival in the summer of 2010, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Taipei welcomes this summer with more local independent films. The festival curator for the past four years, Huang Mi-lu, introduced the duo of Future Film Day, Lin Wei-lun and Wang Cheng-yang, to MOCA Taipei and passed them the torch for the fifth year.
In Youth Way-Light Film Festival, thirty-seven films, documentaries and animations were selected and categorised into various topics upon three dots in a timeline – yesterday, today and tomorrow. From life to death, from encounter to departure, the topics stem from a lifespan of an individual and expand to the history of a versatile society we all live in. This year’s theme follows the tradition of “Youth”. The pronounciation of “Way-Light” is very close to the word “future” in Mandarin which implies we are in the present moment to recall the fond memories of the youth and to look forward in the days to come; it also echoes the name of the film day organised by Lin and Wang in the past three years.
Lin came up with the film day idea during his time in Japan working for the World Earth Day’s screening. He was shocked yet disappointed to find that Taiwan was missing in the two-hour compilation with contributions by people from over 120 countries. The missing link was indeed a passageway to the world. “I am certain that Taiwan has many talents and quality productions. Because of my experience and network studying and working in Japan, it felt right to build this bridge when I came back home.” Lin ascertains.
Before the Youth series by MOCA Taipei and Huang Mi-lu, there were only red-carpet film festivals for celebrities and film contests for students. Some alternative choices were less attentive to Taiwanese productions. The sandwich class was ignored. Wang Cheng-yang explains, “It is also the flip side of our cultural policy to encourage localisation, rooting us deeper to the island. Future Film Day promotes quality works of Taiwanese filmmakers and animators to local audience as well as people from all over the world. In return, both audience and creators have opportunities to broaden their horizons through the exchange. And we don’t do one-off.” The Taichung duo organised the film day three years ago, once every quarter and gradually expanded to Taipei and Tainan.
The festival screening concurrently presents inside and outside MOCA Taipei as well as public and commercial places in Taipei and Taichung. Apart from enough talks and sharing sessions, there are special screenings from Kyoto and Macau. This is a usual practice of Future Film Day who have held screenings in an office, a hair salon, a café, a deserted building, a live house, a classroom, a parking lot, etc. “We say no to cinema because we want to create a different watching experience in relation to our living spaces and architecture.” says Wang.
By collaborating with MOCA Taipei, Future Film Day has gained creditability and some financial support for the first time. At the same time, they have had to give up its principle of charging an admission fee. Wang, a bit agitated at this point, says “Buying a ticket is a form of respect to creators and those putting all these together. Quality was never compromised even when we funded everything from our own pockets. We keep our standard in film selection and even trailer production. We have invited reputable directors and scholars from Japan, Singapore and Macau in respective genres to be our consulting and judging panels. Through this collaboration, we understand the organiser’s concern about charging a fee. If we can participate for another year, I really hope to impose an admission fee.”
Lin also shares room for improvement, “I hope the festival can expand to more cities within and beyond Taiwan. If budget allows, we can develop online gadgets for seat reservation and ticket purchase.”
This article would be edited and published in a.m. post, September edition.