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Taiwan International Documentary Festival

The 4th Annual Taiwan International Documentary Festival presents 120 films from December 11th -17th. Organized by the Chinese Taipei Film Archive and sponsored by Council for Cultural Affairs, the festival explores social issues and the documentary form through a dialogue between Taiwanese and international filmmakers and local audiences.

The festival focuses on independent and experimental documentaries that push formal and thematic boundaries. It includes three juried sections, the International, Asian Vision and Taiwan Award Competition. This year’s festival also includes the following exhibition categories:

The Right to Intervene includes films referencing the media and using the documentary as a political weapon. This section includes films about Israel and Palestine, multi-channel projection made by French artist on the US war in Iraq, “1-0 War Chornicle”, Hugo Chavez and Venezuala’s role in a post-cold war world, Noam Chomsky and US Imperialism, and two films about the Zapatista movement.

Death, Be Not Proud includes films which journey through the cultural, emotional and spiritual dimensions of confronting death. Most importantly these filmmakers (including some documenting their own dying) use the creative process as a way to defy fear of death, for example, in “Flashback” and “Mr. Cortisone, Happy Days”.

Documentary in Trance offers nineteen films that, in Festival Manager Maxine Lu’s words, challenge the stereotype of documentary aesthetics as slow and tedious. “We wanted to show works that offer audio- visual sensory experience, especially those helping to transcend physical perception into ‘an altered state of consciousness’ and defying the domination of everyday reality.”

La Lucarne—Tribute to Luciano Rigolini showcases the celebrated career of veteran documentary producer of ARTE, a television channel that has made documentary its creed. Often working with artists of non-documentary backgrounds, Mr. Rigolini aims at opening up the space for experimentation in documentary form.

Border Inside—Postcard from Amos Gitai features six documentaries of Gitai’s and four fiction films chosen by him. The program intends to create a cinematic space to converse over the Palestinian/Israeli agenda which echoes closely that of Taiwan/China.
Agnes Varda attends the TIDF to present her latest documentary, "Cinevardaphoto" (2004). The three-episode feature centering on the filmmaker's relationship to photography over the past fifty years will close the festival on December 17th.

The TIDF does not aim to compete with larger film festivals. Its goals are to celebrate and preserve Taiwanese documentary while exposing local audiences to the diverse perspectives of international filmmakers. In a land which is both physically and politically isolated, the TIDF believes in the importance of local audiences being exposed to international filmmakers who are committed to their subjects and an innovative uses of the documentary form. The festival promises to provoke lively discussion around complex global issues and the complexity of representation.

Taiwan International Documentary Festival
By Randi Cecchine

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