by FilmInk Staff

The 7th Taiwan Film Festival in Australia will take place from July 25th to September 14th, spanning six cities: Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Hobart, Melbourne, and, for the first time, Adelaide. With over 50 sessions and 20 Australian premieres, the festival features additional events, including a Pitching Competition, Taiwanese Bookshelves, and the most iconic Short Film Competition.

“I’m really excited about the diverse programs this year, ranging from beautiful arthouse cinema to blockbuster comedy. For the first time, we expanded the programming team and dedicated a section to Taiwanese Indigenous works. This is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Taiwanese Indigenous cultures and highlight their values and voices, which are crucial to Taiwanese identity,” said Benson Wu, the Festival Director.

Opening Night Film: OLD FOX directed by, Hsiao Ya-Chuan, the award-winning director.

OLD FOX (Hsiao Ya-Chuan, 2023), set in 1980s Taiwan. It depicts the idyllic nostalgia of the economic optimism during the era and the ambitious dreams of the working class. The film won four Golden Horse Awards, including Best Director, Best Original Film Score, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Makeup & Costume Design. Executive produced by the honoured Taiwanese filmmaker, Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Osaka Fumiko (Seediq Bale, 2011), and Elisa Y.H. Lin (Little Big Women, 2020), the film delicately explores the multi-generational quest for success and happiness, pondering the elusive nature of dreams shaped by the hands of others.

The festival is excited to announce that director Hsiao Ya-Chuan will join us in Sydney for the Australian premiere of the film and an additional behind-the-scenes book talk event at Kinokuniya Sydney on 26 July, as part of this year’s Taiwanese Bookshelf event.

Director Hsiao served as Hou’s assistant director for Flowers of Shanghai (1998). He later directed his own first feature, Mirror Image (2000), which enjoyed a successful international festival tour, including Cannes, Torino, and Vancouver. His second feature, Taipei Exchanges (2010), won the Audience Choice and Best Music awards at the Taipei Film Awards 2010, among other honours. His third feature, Father to Son (2018), won the Big Screen Award at the International Film Festival Rotterdam 2018. Old Fox is Hsiao’s latest feature.

International Co-Production Projects

International Co-production between Taiwan and Hong Kong. Award-winning actor Lee Hong-Chi (Thanatos, Drunk, 2015) embarks on his directorial debut in a stylish neo-noir drama, LOVE IS A GUN, with elegant long takes that meander from the vibrant cityscape to the enigmatic urban countryside. Honoured with the Best Debut Film accolade at the Venice Film Festival, LOVE IS A GUN explores the fine line between criminality and desperation in a society governed by strict hierarchies of power and wealth.

International Co-production between Malaysia, Taiwan and Singapore. Critically acclaimed Malaysian director Chong Keat-Aun (The Story of Southern Islet, 2020) returns with a powerful and emotional sophomore feature, SNOW IN MIDSUMMER. This poignant film delves into the tumultuous events of Malaysian history, notably the 13 May incident in 1969. With meticulous attention to historical accuracy, Director Chong immerses viewers in this tragic chapter of the nation’s past, drawing from authentic events, documents, and personal narratives.

International Co-production between Japan and Taiwan. Award-winning Japanese director Michihito Fujii (The Last 10 Years, 2022) collaborates with renowned actor Chang Chen (Happy Together, 1997) as Executive Producer to present 18×2 BEYOND YOUTHFUL DAYS, an evocative tale of young love. Starring Hsu Kuang-Han (Marry My Dead Body, 2022) and Kaya Kiyohara (In the Wake, 2021), this poignant and romantic journey captures the essence of youthful passion and longing, weaving a story that resonates deeply with the heart.

An international co-production blending Taiwan’s serene mountains with the allure of Paris. SALLI, a romantic family dramedy resonates with the timeless yearning for love within those walls—from seeking and abandonment to self-discovery. Starring Esther Liu (Light the Night, 2021) and Austin Lin (Marry My Dead Body, 2022), the film is set amidst the tranquillity of Taichung’s hills. Hui-Jun, a mature single woman, tends to her chicken farm in the countryside, grappling with her innermost desires while yearning for a fairy-tale romance. When her niece introduces her to an online dating app, messages start pouring in, both from near and far.

Starstruck Section

BREAKING AND RE-ENTERING, directed by Wang Ding-Lid, is a riotous, action-packed comedy, brimming with absurd ideas and quirky humour from start to finish. Starring Wu Kang Ren (Abang Adik, 2023), Chen Bolin (Day Off, 2023), Cecilia Choi (Detention, 2019), Frederick Lee (The Scoundrels, 2018), JC Lin (Terrorizers, 2021), and Kent Tsai (Bad Education, 2022), they are a notorious theft gang who pulled off the largest heist in history, making away with a staggering one billion dollars. However, a double-cross forces them to drag innocent people into the case. Now, they must return the entire one billion sum.

TALES OF TAIPEI is a dreamy romantic comedy featuring ten collective stories by internationally renowned directors, including Yin Chen-Hao (Man in Love, 2021), Joseph Hsu (Little Big Women, 2020), Chong Keat-Aun (Snow in Midsummer, 2023), Wong Yee-Lam (My Prince Edward, 2019), Pawo Choyning Dorji (The Monk and The Gun, 2023), Rachid Hami (For My Country, 2021), Remii Huang (Let’s Talk About Chu, 2023), Lee Sin-Je (Abang Adik, 2023), and Liu Chuan-Hui (Jump Ashin!, 2011). Set against various corners of Taipei and narrated in different directorial styles, these tales collectively weave a tapestry of love that illuminates the city’s freedom and diversity. The film features a star-studded cast, including Hong Kong pop legend Sammi Cheng, Stephy Tang, Malaysian actress and popstar Lee Sin-Je, Golden Horse Award winner Liu Kuan-Ting (Old Fox, 2023), and many more.

FISH MEMORIES, from the director of The Last Painting (2017) and As We Like It (2020), Chen Hung-I returns with yet another creative and poetic masterpiece that redefines the essence of Taiwanese cinema and storytelling. With its unbridled creativity and unique monochromatic palette, the film unveils an ethereal portrait of a clandestine world woven with deceit and betrayal. What begins as a casual encounter between the three soon descends into a darker odyssey of enigmatic secrets, moulding the destinies of each protagonist.

Documentary and First Nations Section

FREE BEATS: THE MUSICAL JOURNEY OF CHEN MING CHANG, directed by Lin Cheng-Sheng, documented a legend you must know is Chen Ming-Chang. Founder of the Taiwan Yueqin Folk Song Association, Chen has been crafting music for over 40 years. His work spans various movie soundtracks, including Dust in the Wind (1986), The Puppetmaster (1993), Hirokazu Koreeda’s first feature film Maborosi (1995), and Amr Gamal’s The Burdened (2023). Renowned for using the iconic yueqin (moon guitar) as his primary instrument, Chen’s discography boasts over 30 albums and 100 songs. His music, deeply rooted in Taiwanese opera and folk music, explores the land and identity of Taiwan, giving voice to its unique musical heritage.

BRAVING THE PEAK, directed by Lin Cheng-Sheng, is the first documentary in history to comprehensively present the entirety of Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range, spanning over 300 kilometres and reaching altitudes of 3000 metres above sea level. Extreme sports enthusiasts, Ku Ming-Cheng, a retired garage owner, and Chou Ching, a trail runner who has been a member of Taiwan’s Trail Running World Cup national team for four consecutive years and currently holds the highest ITRA international ranking in Taiwan, embark on a mission to break the world record for traversing the Central Mountain Range in less than ten days.

THE WOMAN CARRYING THE PREY, directed by Rngrang Hungul, this documentary follows Heydi Mijung, a Truku woman who is the only female hunter in her tribe. She upholds the ancestral tradition of Gaya and practices traditional hunting skills. As winter approaches, Heydi returns to the old hunting grounds with her nephew to retrace their path and explore new hunting trails. Screening with TAYAL FOREST CLUB (Laha Mebow, 2023), DUNGKU ASANG (Tommaso MuzzI, 2023), and KIPUAPUTR (Lil Ku, 2023), as part of the First Nations Selection.

Short Film Competition Juries and Nominees

This year’s jury panel focus on the emerging talents that have won the Taiwan Film Festival in Australia Short Films Competition before, including Huang Shi-Rou (Girl in the Water, 2021) won Best Animated Short Film at the Taiwan Film Festival in Australia in 2022 and was selected for various international film festivals, including Annecy, Fantasia, and the Golden Horse Film Festival, among others. Zhang Bu-Yi (Boys on the Bridge, 2023) was nominated for Best Live Action Short Film at the 60th Golden Horse Awards and won the Best Short Film at Taiwan Film Festival in Australia in 2023. Dale Wu (Mother, 2018), a Media Arts and Production graduate from the University of Technology Sydney, with over a decade of experience in film production as a director and producer. Notable works include Fragrance of the First Flower (2021), which has received three Golden Bell Awards and international film festival recognition.

Nominated for Narrative Shorts are:
CHUFF CHUFF CHUFF《轟隆轟隆轟隆》|Directed by Chao Koi-Wang 周鉅宏  MY UNCLE PICNIC 《我的野餐叔叔》|Directed by Shawn Chen 陳宇祥 TRICKLE 《三點水》|Directed by Jimmy Chao 趙思齊 PAPER DAISIES |Directed by Mikayla Grosse THE HORSE 《馬語》|Directed by Lan Yi-Tzu 藍憶慈
Nominated Animation shorts are: CONFUSION OF THE AFTERNOON 《午後的迷茫》|Directed by Lee Yung-Chieh 李永傑 THE EGRET RIVER 《鷺鷥河》|Directed by Liu Wan-Ling 劉婉琳 BIRD DRONE |Directed by Radheya Jang Jegatheva L.U.A (Last Universal Ancestor) 《流向北冥》|Directed by Tung Chin 秦彤

Pitching Competition – From Taiwanese Bookshelves to Screen

4-6pm 13 Sep 2024 @ Australian Film Television and Radio School

For the first time, the Taiwan Film Festival in Australia is hosting a pitching competition. This unique opportunity aims to promote translated Taiwanese literary works by adapting them into screenplays, providing emerging filmmakers with an entry into international co-productions. Whether you are an established filmmaker or fresh out of school, we encourage you to seize this rare opportunity. Participate for a chance to win a $5000 cash prize to kickstart the production of the short film.

The pitching competition juries include:
● Director Colin Cairnes | Late Night With The Devil (2023)
● Producer Kylie de Fresne | Goalpost Production
● Author Benjamin Law | Wellmania (2023)
● Bobby Romain | Screen Australia – Head of Development
● Su Shu-Kuan | Taiwan Creative Content Agency – Assistant Director

The books include:
The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi
Day Off by Dailygreen

The festival is presented by the Taiwan Film Festival in Australia, and the Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce in Australia, and is co-presented by the Taiwan Creative Contents Agency (TAAICA), Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Sydney, and Spotlight Taiwan as the touring supporter.

Taiwan Film Festival in Australia would like to earnestly thank the following partners and sponsors: the City of Sydney, Multicultural NSW, Screen Queensland, Taipei City and New Taipei World Masters Games, TECO, Ubertas Wine, Australia Taiwan Friendship Association, China Airlines, the Sydney branches of various Taiwanese banks, associations, and individuals, as well as the film festival team and volunteers.

Taiwan Film Festival in Australia 2024 Dates:
Sydney 25 – 14 Sep Event Cinemas George St
Canberra 2 – 4 August NFSA
Brisbane 10 – 11 August Event Cinemas Brisbane City
Hobart 23 – 25 August State Cinema
Adelaide 30 Aug- 1 Sep The Picaddily
Melbourne 5 – 12 September Village Cinemas The Jam Factory
Ticket Prices: Adult Single Ticket $20 | Concession Ticket $18 | Seniors Card $16
Sydney and Melbourne Passes
Flexi 3 Pass 3部套票 $50
Hardcore Pass 全看套票 $145
Hobart, Canberra, Adelaide and Brisbane Passes
Flexi 3 Pass 3部套票 $50
Hardcore Pass 全看套票 $80
Book your tickets now at