Upon returning from Los Angeles, Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai pledged to help Taiwan establish its own film studios. As part of this initiative, the Minister visited a film production set in the northeastern county of Yilan on Sept. 13.
The shooting of "Twa Tiu Tiann” (大稻埕), a film funded by the Ministry of Culture, is currently taking place at the Yilan-based National Center for Traditional Arts (NCFTA). The production crew and the main cast include Chu Ko-liang (豬哥亮), Sonia Sui (隋棠), Chris Wang (宥勝) and Chien Man-shu (簡嫚書).
Being set in old Taipei of the 1920s, the film portrays the vibrant and lively folk culture of that time period. To help recreate the authentic vibe of the film's historic settings, the crew spent a budget of NT$10 million (US$337,780) on the production set at the Yilan center.
Dadaocheng, which used to be known as Twa Tiu Tiann during the Japanese colonial period of Taiwan, was once an important trading port in northern Taipei. Buildings of both traditional Taiwanese and Western styles, including a shop selling Western-style apparel and a Chinese medicinal store, have been reconstructed on the production set.
The Minister was accompanied by film director Yeh Tien-lun (葉天倫) and playwright Yeh Tan-ching (葉丹青) at the recreated main street, which was built upon the Folk Art Boulevard section of the traditional arts center.
Highlighting how the atmosphere of old-school Taiwan is perfectly captured by the Folk Art Boulevard, the director explained that he had traveled all across Taiwan to look for such a place, and even attempted to restore the old Daodaocheng back to its prosperous days, but both attempts were to no avail.
Through the Ministry's negotiation efforts, however, the NCFTA agreed to seal part of its compound for the shooting of the film, Yeh added.
Minister Lung said the film's plot brings back memories of Taipei between 1913 and 1920, a time when the general population in Taiwan was mild-mannered but quite enthusiastic beneath a polite demeanor. She said both herself and the general audience have great expectations for the film, towards which the Ministry had injected NT$20 million while private investors contributed NT$5 million.
"The Ministry of Culture will continue to support the development of Taiwan-made films through such sustainable policies,” Lung stated, adding that she was glad to see that the shooting of the film and the exhibitions that promote traditional arts could co-exist. Visitors to the center who witnessed the shooting are also more likely to watch film afterwards, she said.
The movie is expected to complete shooting next month and begin post-production before hitting local cinemas during the 2014 Lunar New Year holidays.
From left to right: Actor Chris Wang (宥勝), actress Chien Man-shu (簡嫚書), television host Chu Ko-liang (豬哥亮), Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai (龍應台), film director Yeh Tien-lun (葉天倫) and starlet Sonia Sui (隋棠).
To show her appreciation for the hardworking cast and production crew, Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai (right) brought traditional kumquat iced tea and pomelos as gifts.