After enjoying the wonderful documentary They are Flying (飛行少年) at the Taipei Film Festival I went to see two programs of short films in the Taipei Awards section. I think the film festival is a great chance to see documentaries and short films as these films often never get a commercial release.
The first program I saw was animated shorts. I will just mention a few of the films I thought were notable. Fuji Shogun (富士將軍) presents a unique perspective on eating at a sushi restaurant. Interestingly, even though it is a Taiwanese production the dialogue was in Japanese. The Forgotten Treasure (遺忘的寶藏) was the story of a search for hidden treasure left in Taiwan by the Japanese after WW2. The director was not present for the Q&A session, but I guess that the film was an allegory of the White Terror period. The Big Head Boy (大頭仔的三塊厝) is a wonderful tale of a farmyard battle between a boy and a chicken. All the dialogue in this film was in Hoklo Taiwanese. The last film in the program was Woodman 3 Hot Fighting (木偶人3熱鬥) which I had already seen at the Urban Nomad Film Festival. The video is available at YouTube.
The next program I saw was dramatic shorts. It Seems to Rain (少年不戴花) was a story about a high school student coming to terms with his identity. My Superpower Girl (女力) was a wonderfully original story that got a lot of laughs from the audience. Summer (夏天) was a tale of love and surfing. Summer Afternoon (夏午) was a dark tale of friends going for a drive, beautifully shot in black and white. The Eighteenth Birthday Party (愛瑪的晚宴) was another dark tale of a young woman's coming of age.
Making short films is often a stepping stone for directors on the way to making a feature film. I was really impressed by the variety and quality of the short films and I hope to see full-length movies from some of these directors soon.
There is a chance to see more short films a the upcoming 30th Golden Harvest Awards (blog) for Outstanding Short Films which will be held from 18-31 July 2008. Some of the films mentioned above will screen there.