Taiwanese cinema has a lot to celebrate.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the island produced 71 impressive films last year, making it the third most productive country in the world. This year, the island has gone even further, bringing immersive projects to the virtual reality programs of prestigious film festivals around the world.
Today, it’s hard to imagine that the Taiwanese film industry was struggling just 40 years ago. With authors such as Hou Hsiao-hsien and the late Edward Yang, the new Taiwanese wave of the 1980s invigorated a dying industry and placed the country’s films on the world map. The movement also saw the birth of a quintessential Taiwanese voice, which not only aestheticizes a collective experience, but also speaks of the present, and it is this thread of Taiwanese cinema that continues to capture the global audience.
Take, for example, the recent success of the former Taiwanese guard. Following the acclaim of his drama “Days” in 2020, Tsai Ming-liang, a director of the second new Taiwanese wave of the 1990s and 1990s, who is famously associated with slow motion and film poetry, has released ” The evening”. -minute short film that was played out of competition at this year’s Venice Film Festival.
Meanwhile, the next generation of filmmakers in the country has been giving new life to Taiwanese cinema. One such name is Chung Mong-hong, the heartbreaking episode of the crime “A Sun” was selected as the best international feature film at the Academy Awards earlier this year. Her latest film, “The Falls,” about a mother-daughter couple navigating a full relationship during their forties, has been nominated this year for the Orizzonti competition at the Venice Film Festival.
Taiwanese cinema shows no signs of slowing down and the country recently started a new chapter in its film history. Since 2020, Taiwan Creative Content Agency, an intermediary organization overseen by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, has invested in the nation’s future by encouraging artists to explore the use of extended reality (XR) innovations, such as reality. augmented and virtual reality that are used to improve our understanding of the real or artificial environments around us, as well as mixed reality technologies.
“XR is a new medium, everyone is exploring their creative possibilities,” says TAICCA President Ting Hsiao-ching. “There are ways to produce and present new and innovative art forms at XR. And today it is accessible to everyone. In Taiwan we have many technological advantages due to our national hardware and software resources, creative studios and artists … We have a creative freedom that helps us promote immersive projects. “
With the launch of commercial high-speed 5G mobile networks, Taiwan’s heavy state in the computer hardware supply chain, in addition to the emergence of young progressive filmmakers on its borders, Taiwan is certainly well positioned to lead the latest generation of technology-based creativity. These efforts have already begun to bear fruit. This year, Taiwanese VR projects set a record for nominations at the Venice Film Festival. Seven works have been selected for the festival program and five projects supported by TAICCA will compete for the Grand Jury Prize for best VR work, best VR experience and best VR stories: “The Sick Rose”, “Samsara “and” The Last “Worker,” “The Starry Sand Beach” and “Bedlam.”
“There is no other country that manifests this commitment to this new form of virtual reality art as Taiwan does,” says Michel Reilhac, co-director of Venice’s VR Expanded program. “From the first year that TAICCA worked, we have seen incredible works. This is an excellent and efficient example of how public financial and production support can be tailored to the needs of the community and artists in your country. ”
Although the early chapters of Taiwanese cinema were marked by inner reflection, the island now looks outward, embarking on international co-productions for its virtual reality projects.
For example, Huang Hsin-chien’s VR science fiction film “Samsara”, with the support of TAICCA’s flagship Content and Technology Applications Program, was developed in Taiwan with the participation of experts from around the world. world. The project was filmed with 4Dviews technology at TAICCA’s IP Lab, which provided technical assistance to integrate high-end XR production technology and IP development capabilities, enabling a combination of virtual and physical worlds that create a fully immersive experience. The first episode of the project won awards at Cannes and South by Southwest earlier this year.
Similarly, “Bedlam,” an immersive VR play set in the famous 17th-century madhouse in London, was an ambitious co-production between TAICCA and El-Gabal based in France and Minky Productions based in the United Kingdom. United.
“The deployment of ‘Bedlam’ would not be possible without 5G technology in the center. Taiwan, with its unique ecosystem, was the best place to create this project, ”says Marie Jourdren, co-founder and creative director of El-Gabal.
El-Gabal CEO Antoine Cardon further explained how Taiwan was the only country with enough technical experience to create the role-specific social experience. “As future content, [‘Bedlam’] paves the way for the kind of entertainment that [will] they become a commonplace in the metaverse, ”he added, referring to the idea of a shared virtual space that combines augmented reality and virtual reality, allowing people to move between different experiences.
The rapid growth of 5G technology, motion capture, XR and other newly developed technologies is “a strong signal that Taiwan is both a leading force and a key partner for future content,” says Alice Chang, vice president of TAICCA. According to Chang, Taiwan “probably has the most complete ecosystem in the world.” In addition, Chang notes that TAICCA has strived to become the “key partner” with creators and investors around the world. Recently, the organization has collaborated closely with production teams from the UK and France on some of the works selected this year.