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Paying Tribute to Two Icons at the 14th TIDF Opening Ceremony
Paying Tribute to Two Icons at the 14th TIDF Opening Ceremony

Paying Tribute to Two Icons at the 14th TIDF Opening Ceremony

The 2024 Key Visual incorporates Digital Glitch Art.

The 14th edition of the Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF) has announced the winner of the esteemed “Outstanding Contribution Award”: the esteemed 80-year-old filmmaker, CHANG Chao-tang. This award honors CHANG’s significant and enduring impact on the documentary film industry in Taiwan. The festival also honors the legacy of the late HU Tai-li, a pioneer in ethnographic documentary filmmaking who passed away in 2022, by introducing a special commemoration, a first for TIDF.

The curatorial team at TIDF has selected two masterpieces by CHANG Chao-tang, The Boat-Burning Festival (1980) and Homage to Chen-Da (2000), to open the 14th iteration of the festival. The former intimately captures the enigmatic ritual of Burning the King Boat in Sucuo Village, Tainan County. Devoid of any live sound but accompanied by progressive folk music, this film is considered as one of the earliest experimental and poetic documentaries in Taiwan. Homage to Chen Da delves into the life of wandering minstrel Chen Da who traveled through the South of Taiwan, showcasing the unique oral traditions of Taitung.

TIDF Programme Director Wood LIN expresses, “CHANG Chao-tang is an inspiration to many. Despite his numerous awards in photography fields, his contributions to documentary filmmaking remain insufficiently documented. We eagerly anticipate TIDF presenting his comprehensive documentary works and pioneering vision.”

Beginning his journey as a documentarian in 1968 at Taiwan Television (CTV), CHANG’s main focus was capturing the local culture of Taiwan. Despite facing obstacles during the time of martial law, he experimented with innovative audiovisual methods, resulting in impactful pieces. His dedication to educating and advocating for documentary filmmaking led to the launch of the inaugural Taiwan International Documentary Festival in 1998, paving the way for the current TIDF.

In addition to recognizing CHANG’s contributions, the jury members also want to honor the late ethnographic filmmaker HU Tai-li with a “Special Commemoration.” One of her most notable works, Songs of Pasta’ay (1988), which she co-directed with LEE Daw-ming and featured CHANG Chao-tang as the cinematographer, will be featured in the festival program. This film, shot on 16mm, documents the Pasta’ay Festival of the Paiwan tribe in 1986 and skillfully depicts the tribe’s struggle for survival and commitment to preserving their cultural traditions.

Along with these statements, the festival has revealed its main image, created by the consistent partner, Faye, who is a graphic designer. Taking inspiration from the movie Silent Delta by SHEN Ko-shang, she presents a visual that mimics modern digital art glitches, smoothly blending old photos and coding languages.

The TIDF, which is the 14th installment of the Taiwan International Documentary Festival, is being hosted by the TFAI and will be held from May 10th to May 19th across multiple venues in Taipei and New Taipei City. The event will feature more than 130 compelling documentaries from both local and international filmmakers, making it the first time for international filmmakers to participate since the pandemic.

The festival included not only film screenings and talks, but also arranged lectures, performances, and large-scale exhibitions to broaden the understanding of non-fiction storytelling in different mediums. The finalists for the Asian Vision Competition, International Competition, and Taiwan Competition will be disclosed on February 19th, with additional program information being revealed gradually.

Keep checking the TIDF official website, Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram for any new information.