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Erenlai - Displaying items by tag: tidf
Thursday, 28 October 2010 00:00

Family box vs video art: Homesick

Yang Hsin-he was one of the advanced students from the first season Gosh Foundation ‘Fruit Camp’. The three advanced students Family Story vs. Video Art installations, which were displayed in the middle of gallery street, the quintessence of their family story into one box; their huge boxes/makeshift homes to play with life-size toys from their childhood and with their video art works being shown in the middle. They had initially been asked to bring their works to be selected and refined previous, with the most talented young artists receiving one on one instruction from top artist in their chosen field. Yang Hsin-he's instructor for this project was Yao Jui-chung.

I was born in Kaohsiung but now live in Yilan. So far my life has been divided into two parts: I am now in Yilan, but my childhood was spent in Kaohsiung. There were so many things that happened in Yilan that is hard for me to make it clear right now. But I am sorry to say that most of the things I remember in Kaohsiung as a child have already disappeared now. I created this work just to get back to those places that were meaningful for me in my childhood and to visit the lands I was once family with.

Images by Liu Lu-chen


Thursday, 28 October 2010 00:00

Family box vs video art: Squash Family

Li Pei-tzu was one of the advanced students from the first season Gosh Foundation ‘Fruit Camp’. The three advanced students Family Story vs. Video Art installations, which were displayed in the middle of gallery street, the quintessence of their family story into one box; their huge boxes/makeshift homes to play with life-size toys from their childhood and with their video art works being shown in the middle. They had initially been asked to bring their works to be selected and refined previous, with the most talented young artists receiving one on one instruction from top artist in their chosen field. Li Pei-tzu's instructor for her 'Family box vs video art project' was Shih Ming-hui.

They call me the shorty, because I am short and fat and with short legs… you must have heard the song about a short guy. Those 'squashes' (a phrase that used in Taiwanese dialect to refer to the short persons) you find in my works are all my family members. Why did I choose squash? Because like squash, I am also fat, short and have short legs. This animation has recorded some of the interesting things that happened to my family. I hope the animation can remind you of all the precious moments, including those funny ones you shared with your family. I don’t want to spoil the fun for you so just watch it yourself. Ha Ha~~


Wednesday, 27 October 2010 00:00

Family box vs video art: Children x Children

Liu Min-chieh was one of the advanced students from the first season Gosh Foundation ‘Fruit Camp’. The three advanced students Family Story vs. Video Art installations, which were displayed in the middle of gallery street, the quintessence of their family story into one box; their huge boxes/makeshift homes to play with life-size toys from their childhood and with their video art works being shown in the middle. They had initially been asked to bring their works to be selected and refined previous, with the most talented young artists receiving one on one instruction from top artist in their chosen field. Liu Ming-Chieh's instructor was Yuen Kuang-ming.

In Childhood x Childhood, Liu Ming-chieh contrasted the childhood of his grandma with his own, for example cutting between footage of his younger brother innocently playing with a paper airplane, and that of fighter jets during the Japanese colonial period, which represented how airplanes were perceived in his grandmother’s memory. He contrasts the learning of the Japanese alphabet for his grandmother, with his learning of a Mandarin phonetic alphabet used in Taiwan.“Time is different now,” said my grandmother to me in a Taiwanese dialect as she recollected her past. I still remember these words profoundly. Two utterly different childhoods between my grandmother's and my own. They are more than half a century apart from each other. In my work I wanted to express what my grandmother wanted to say, but I couldn’t really hear what she could hear and vice versa. There seemed to be no connection between her generation and mine. Yet the two childhoods, 63 years apart are somehow connected by the changes and variations. Two memories; two memories in different childhoods. I wanted to reflect on the changing times with my work. Furthermore, I wanted to extend a hand to my grandma, the work to serve as a reflection on the modern environment.

 


Wednesday, 27 October 2010 00:00

Directing Intuition: When you are making a film, leave the window open

In October 2010, Taiwan International Documentary Festival welcomed Heddy Honigmann as their special guest. eRenlai & TIDF interviewed her under the watchful eye of her own camera.

Born in Peru to Polish Jewish immigrants, Heddy Honigman moved around the world a lot before eventually settling in Holland. She went from literature, to poetry, where she realized she was writing her poem though a series of images and that what she really wanted to do was make films. Yet even in film Heddy has alternated between fiction and documentary. Added to the various languages she speaks, her lifestyle has always had a nomadic touch: “It sounds cliché but I am from everywhere. If I had been in Taiwan and young, I would become Taiwanese. I can root anywhere; I call it a gift for film”. For Heddy, film is closely related to memory. Her family members were great story tellers, especially the women. Her mum said “the world is full of horrible things,” but that “you can’t cry about everything in life”. You have to approach everything with a degree of humor and irony. “You have to live and smile a little, or die.”

Heddy says: "When you are making a film, leave the window open." The art of improvisation is more important when your making documentary. You have a dialogue, not an interview. For example when asked: How do you capture their inner reactions? She retorted: How do you kiss a woman? It’s different every time. It either works or it doesn’t. For example the former Bosnian War soldier in Crazy. He had sweaty hands. He kept looking down. He told me once that he had tried to commit suicide. He was willing to tell me this. Why? I was talking to him like I talk to a person, I only film people, I had tears running down my face because of some of the stuff he told me. Of course I stopped myself making any sounds. But I was listening to him because I was genuinely interested in him and what he was telling me.

Do you observe people for a while before deciding to interview them? Have you already built up a relationship with your subjects?

It depends. Most of the time, I research. I make sure the supporting pillars are in place. I make sure the film is possible. I then search for 3 or 4 characters that are so strong that they will always remain in the film, even if it gets difficult. I might find them in the street, or the cemetery; it’s intuition. I am looking for ‘film characters’. Some people may have interesting content but when they communicate there is no emotion. Some of the people in my films rival Robert De Niro. For example in Crazy, it was very important which music the soldier was listening too; I maintained a veto on Mariah Carey. I dream up my characters. In my dream they would be playing Janis Joplin’s Summertime. In a way it is at type of casting, but the process is open and while filming you can find many new beautiful characters. For instance, in Forever, I randomly encountered a woman in the cemetery. We were eating apples in the tree shade, she walked by and said “bon appetit”, so we caught up with her and asked her for an interview. In it, she revealed that her husband, who was twenty years younger than her, had died from a bee sting, just three years after their marriage. It was a very strong story. All I knew was that she had been visiting a tomb; my intuition told me there was a story there. I am very curious by nature; I never have a complete plan. I hate documentaries where you feel the questions are already prepared. For example the interviewee says her father is dead and then the next question you ask is: “How long have you been in Taiwan?”

In the work Crazy, you ask the interviewee to play a song, which seems to be an emotional medium to trace back through their memory. Meanwhile you continue filming them until near the end of their song.  If I were filming you about your life or a memory, what would be playing?

The film would definitely be full of Bach. He is a master, a genius in joy. Wherever I go, Bach is my home in exile. Also, recently when I was frustrated and all was going wrong, I opened an old file about 10 years old. It had Madonna, George Michael, and the Rolling Stones. So now I have a cocktail of music on a file, which always brings my sprits back and makes everything better.

How do you deal with strong emotional reactions from your subjects? In Oblivion for example you persisted in questioning the shoeshine boy despite his apparent discomfort.

With the shoeshine boy, reality was giving me a slap. He had no dreams, nothing, it was blank. So in a natural way, you respect the moment, the silence, but you know you have to continue – you cannot leave the person alone with his problems. For instance with the women whose husband died, there was no second thoughts; I reacted in the most natural way possible. I said “C’est terrible” because it simply was horrible. In the end, she looked at me and I looked back. She understood that it was the end and simply left. It was a beautiful moment. When the soldiers in Crazy hear the music they love, some would eventually look at me in a way that says “Please, stop the torture” and as soon as I see that, I immediately turn off the camera. I just have to stop. Sometimes when you film, you trespass over the frontier. You see that you went too far. I’m very much aware, that when you make a documentary, you use people. So you need to respect them a lot, you can’t squeeze them.


Friday, 22 October 2010 00:00

Injecting art into the veins of our youth

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How would you fit your family in a box?

Bicycle pedals coming out of the sides of the box? A tree of hanging photographs? A girl with her finger on the edge of a sharp broken mirror with her grandpa’s cigarette lit and smoking above her head? Or simply a box full of glass smashed to smithereens? These were just some of the family boxes provided by the young artists from the second season of the Gosh Foundation’s Fruit Camp.

While the organizers, major directors and officials opened the 2010 Taiwan International Documentary Festival on Friday 22 October 2010, the underlying missions of the festival had begun long before, as the organizers asked: How can the seeds of creativity and collective memory be passed onto the youth? How can these young talents be nurtured to produce marvelous works?

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The self-made Taiwanese star, Sylvia Chang tried to answer these questions when she founded the Gosh Foundation, which was intended to inspire young artists to transcend the traditional artistic spectrum and keep creating. When Sylvia, a self-taught actress, singer, playwright and director, arrived in Taichung, she immediately went on a tour of the festival's installations - including the works of the ‘Family Story vs. Video Art’ installation, which were the fruits of the second Gosh Foundation ‘Fruit Camp’.

The preliminary group of young artists had to install the quintessence of their family story in one box; meanwhile, advanced students who had excelled the previous season, the original Fruit Camp, invited you into their huge boxes/makeshift homes to play with their life-size toys and view their video art works about their childhood. They had initially been asked to bring their works to be selected and refined the year previous, with the most talented receiving one on one training from top artist in a suitable artistic field.

The results of this training were astounding. In Childhood vs Childhood, Liu Ming-chieh contrasted the childhood of his grandma with his own, for example cutting between footage of his younger brother innocently playing with a paper airplane, and that of fighter jets during the Japanese colonial period, which represented how airplanes were perceived in his grandmother’s memory. Li Pei-tzu created a formidable animation video which explored her winter melon producing ‘Squash Family’- ‘squashes’ in Taiwanese can refer to short, fat people. To research these ‘family stories’ the kids had to engage their elders with questions of their youth - inheriting and developing their memories. This is a lesson that could help all youths communicate better with their elders. Finally, Yang Hsin-he visually expresses her inner struggles of a life and memory fractured between her early years in Kaohsiung and more recently in Yilan. The young artists were enthralled by the opportunity at such a young age to display their works in Taiwan’s most prestigious art museum.

 

See Min-chieh’s Childhood vs Childhood, Pei-tzu’s Squash Family or Hsin-he's Homesick

Images by Liu Lu-chen


Tuesday, 12 October 2010 00:00

Simply Filming Yanting

An interview with Taiwanese Director Chu-chung Pan (潘巨忠), co-director of the 2010 documentary "Green's 284 Blue's 278", which was featured in the 2010 Taiwan International Documentary Festival. The film portrays the daily life of an autistic young person, and in this clip the director discusses the difficulties encountered and the rewards of filming this particular subject matter.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010 00:00

Improving the archives

In this audio file we interview Yael Hersonski, director of the groundbreaking new holocaust documentary A Film Unfinished. She talks a bit about her mission to look at wartime holocaust footage in an alternative way. Below is the transcript.


Tuesday, 12 October 2010 00:00

Free Memory!

What is the difference between our memory's reality and the reality recorded in images. How can we transform, release and liberate our memory, allowing us to view the things we remember from a different perspective?

Memory is formed by history. The blind spot of memory lies in its ability to remember only that which it wishes to remember. Even so, Edward Said once said: culture is simply memory struggling not to be forgotten. Through these documentaries, which supposedly record reality, are we able to explore and understand the depths of memory, the past that has been blinded so by our prejudice? And are we able to breed understanding and concern in the wider world and to free our memory. Furthermore it is due to the presence of a camera that we bravely decide to talk of our experiences and memories. This is another level of meaning in the theme 'free memory'. Liberating our memory, does not only concern itself with objective history external to ourselves, but is also concerned with thorough retrospection on our own life and memory. Here, festival director Angelika Wang gives her own explanation of Free Memory, the main programs in this year's festival, the state of documentary and gives a few recommendations of films to look out for:

To match the theme of "Free Memory" this festival featured a memory wall - My Photo, Our Wallpaper - where you could choose a picture that meant something to you, then be photographed holding the picture which would eventually stuck on the wall. While Angelika had put up the first photo,  the opening ceremony was concluded as we all watched the proud parents of Angelika put their own picture on the wall, a tribute to the passing of memories through the generations. Perhaps by exploring this festival, you can come closer to understanding the significance and importance of documentary.

 

 

Tuesday, 12 October 2010 00:00

TIDF 2010

Last month saw the 7th biennial Taiwan International Documentary Festival held in Taichung. eRenlai was omnipresent at the festival; working in collaboration with the festival, providing festival snaps, videos and cutting-edge interviews with the best in the lonely, but precious art of documentary. The festival showed its continued prestige inviting some of the biggest names in the documentary world from North America, Europe and Asia including producers, directors, editors and cameramen whilst not turning its back on Taiwan's own documentary trade with its many workshops, lectures and the Taiwan Award. This focus will take this occasion to look at the power and importance of documentary in the contemporary world of overloaded, abused information and the flux audiovisuel and explore the festival's main theme of 'Free Memory'. This freeing of one's memory was best incorporated in He Si-ying's fantastic bubble head design, yet the festival also included the Memory Wall, a space where the public was invited to bring a picture that meant or signified a lot to them then the proceeding pictures taken, holding their pictures, joined the wall.

tahimik_kidlateRenlai caught up with the festivals special guests including some of the biggest names in documentary, both Taiwanese and foreign. But before any of these we interviewed with the festival director who gave us some background information about the projects and participants. They included the academic and founder of the Swiss Visions du Reel, Jean Perret; emotional and intuitive director amongst the most celebrated in the field of documentary, Heddy Honigmann; Beijing's biggest documentarist/curator since the Great Reform in China, Wu Wenguang who brings with him the documentaries produced for The Village Documentary Project and of course the king of Third World film, the dancing indo-genius Tahimik Kadlit. Furthermore we have podcasts with director of a very different type of holocaust movie, Yael Hersonski, Hong Kong director Yao Ching and Tahimik's son Kidlat.

Yet TIDF is more than just a showcase for international documentaries and a rubber stamp for multi-thousand dollar prizes. It is also a place for young aspiring directors, filmmakers and artists to learn from the experts. As such they incorporated 'family box' installations from talented children which had their origins in Sylvia Chang's GOSH Foundation. The three young winners of the competition from the year before were delighted to have their stunning video art works displayed in the MOFA gallery as well as being showcased on eRenlai. Please sit back and enjoy the works from Liu Min-chieh, Li Pei-tzu and Yang Hsin-he.

Finally, nothing can truly match up to the visual arts experience and equipment at Taichung's NTMOFA, so if you couldn't make it to the festival we bring you a taste of the cinematic experience you missed, whether it be the techplex media art centre, with its experimental screenings or the wondrous outdoor 'starlit screenings'. Indeed, it was on the 22nd October 2010 at 7pm when the helium filled balloons were released flying from the net that was our brain, way into the skies and as such we could begin with the release of these memories from all around the world hundreds of movies beginning with the first film Doc Taichung, a montage of 6 different films, made by six different directors especially for this year's 2010 festival.


To see the award winners please click here

 

 

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