Taiwanese animated short film "Night Bus (夜車)," by animation director Joe Hsieh (謝文明) won the Grand Competition of short film at the 31st World Festival of Animated Film – Animafest Zagreb 2021 in Croatia.
The director's independent production "Night Bus" is a 20-minute film which unfolds a series of intriguing turn of events that happened on a late-night commuter bus after a necklace that belonged to an elderly lady was stolen. To present the characteristics of Taiwan, Hsieh highlighted the use of both Mandarin and Hoklo in the film. The role of the elderly lady in the animation is voiced by Taiwanese actress Chen Shu-fang (陳淑芳) who won the Golden Horse Award last year.
According to the website of the festival, the jury's explanation states that "Night Bus" is a miraculous journey that captures all the protagonists and the audience.
In an interview with Central News Agency (CNA), Hsieh expressed his joy of winning the award and added that it was a pity he could not attend the film festival and interact with the audience in person due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking of the film, Hsieh believes that using both Mandarin and Taiwanese-Hokkien dialect adds emotion and charm to the animation film, and it also reflects the real life in Taiwan. He shared that his new animated short film "Mantis (螳螂)," which also depicts the relationship between people will be released at the end of the year.
Hsieh's works frequently explore the dark side of human nature and are filled with thrilling suspense. "Night Bus" won a Golden Horse Award in 2020, and a Special Jury Mention at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France in February.
His acclaimed films "Meat Days (肉蛾天)" was nominated at Busan International Film Festival and Hiroshima International Animation Festival. "The Present (禮物)" was nominated at Sundance Film Festival, and won the award for the Best Animated Film at San Diego Asian Film Festival.
As Animafest Zagreb is on the list of qualifying festivals for the Oscars, Hsieh's latest win gives him a chance to compete at next year's Academy Awards.