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On The Next Generation of Taiwanese Filmmakers – An Interview With Golden Harvest Awards Jury Member Huang Hao-Jie

13 January 2020

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On The Next Generation of Taiwanese Filmmakers – An Interview With Golden Harvest Awards Jury Member Huang Hao-Jie

(Photo Credit: Golden Horse Awards)

A director and finalist for multiple film festivals throughout Taiwan, Huang Hao-Jie 黃晧傑 is currently the programme director of the Kaohsiung Film Festival and jury member of this year’s Golden Harvest Awards.

With its 42nd edition this year, the Golden Harvest Awards is Taiwan’s longest-running short film festival. The Awards has become a prominent platform for talented young filmmakers and their works, and has nurtured talented filmmakers like Ang Lee, Tsai Ming-liang, Wan Jen, and many others. 

The 42nd Golden Harvest Awards film screenings will be held from March 21 to 29, 2020 at SPOT Huashan Cinema and Fuzhong 15 – New Taipei City Documentary Cinema, and from March 30 to May 10, 2020 at Y17, Eslite Spectrum and all over the country.

Sinema had the pleasure to speak with Hao-Jie during the press conference of the 2020 Golden Harvest Awards about the shifting trends of Taiwanese films, and the difference in themes between the regions in Taiwan.


Have you seen a difference in themes and genres for this year’s Golden Harvest Awards?

I noticed a lot more science fiction. For the student films, I feel that they are much more confident with their technique. Student films previously had an unrestrained feel to it, but this year’s films seem to have matured and broken away from trying to force the traditional story structures of feature films into short films. In fact, the narrative from this year’s pool felt more casual. 

I also feel that when they were trying to capture the atmosphere of the film there was a lot of focus on the personality of the characters because a lot of the cast were made of amateur actors. We can tell that they had to adjust what they wanted out of the film based on what they had. This led to a lot of the films having a very casual feel. 

Nevertheless, for the audience to feel the spirit of the film is the most important goal. The difference technical-wise between the films is actually not that big, so now I think there should be a bigger focus on character work, on the message of their films, and the emotional takeaways. I think this is more important than anything else. 

去年跟今年金穗獎有看到哪一些比較不一樣的話題和題材嗎?

黃晧傑:今年的那一種科幻類型的片比較多。有一些學生片我都覺得他們的手法變得比較熟行一點。以前學生片好像是就是看到一種恣肆的樣貌。但是我覺得他們今年學生片有打破這種以前就是要把長片的起承轉合放在短片裡面。他們其實今年的敘事是比較隨性的。我覺得他們在抓一種影片的氣氛時候可能就以學生來講他們對人物的個性塑造下不少功夫。 因為他們很多是那種素人演員,所以你看得出他們在控制素人演員方面有一個調和。他們很多是可能在片子預算不夠的情況下,他在那個限制裡面去做出他要的那一個樣子。我看到蠻多是那種隨機拍的那一種感覺。

我覺得那一個生命力其實才是影片裡面必須要人家感受到。因為有時候其實現在的技術都不會落差太大。但是就是你怎麼把人物的那種魅力,或說它這一個影片傳達的那一種情感很直接的出來不要太多的那種演示或是太多的雕塑。他那其實是最存粹的。

(The press conference of the 42nd Golden Harvest Awards)

That is to say that a lot of young Taiwanese directors don’t focus a lot on the technical aspects [of their films] and will focus more on storytelling. 

That is one side of the judging process. The other side is with the focus on science fiction films and how – because of their lack of budget – they don’t really execute their premise well. I think they should work with the limitations lest they want their finished products to feel awkward. 

那可以說是年輕的台灣導演比較不太過注重拍片技術,反而會著重在故事的敘事方式?

黃晧傑:那這個是天秤的另外一邊。那另外一邊就是我剛剛講的像科幻。看他們學生拍科幻片也有一種土法煉鋼。但你知道說他的概念本身是不順的。所以他們在一種有限的條件下去用概念去創造議題。那我覺得這個想法不順。就是,你知道你的支援不夠那也不要硬做。你發現你硬做之後就會超尷尬的。


We saw a lot of students melding genres together, such as with horror and science fiction. Do you think that this year’s entries had any standout differences throughout Taiwan?

I feel that in general this generation of filmmakers is quite different from the rest. Their films focus on modern themes dealing with the Internet. They also focus on how we interact with the internet, such as tackling more sexual themes. But when they do, they tend to rush through them. I feel they have to capture the nuance of these themes for them to succeed. In the past, they tended to only deal with them with half-measures; when it comes to nudity or anything overtly sexual they tend not to go all the way. This leads to their works being left with awkward moments. 

你覺得台灣的年輕導演他們會想嘗試一些比較不一樣的片子吗?

黃晧傑:我覺得他們的世代基本上整個影片的節奏感其實跟我們以往其實已經不太一樣。因為他們在抓這些影片新時代的那種節奏,比如說直播,網絡這。還有他們對影像的那一種接受度,比如說情色的部分直接直繫到最刺有的部分他們就很敢。因為當他們涉及這些現勢之後,那一個影片的本質才會好看。以前就會覺得說好像就只接觸到一半。比如說赤裸的部分,情侶的部分也不敢抓得太深。


For this year’s Golden Harvest Awards, have you seen entries from last year’s Kaohsiung Film Festival?

Yes. There is The Child of Nowhere, See You, Sir!, student film A Day Out, and animation My Father at Grandma’s Funeral. Each type has its own strengths, and I think that the directors behind these works all approach films in a very ‘pure’ way which is really difficult to pull off.

Film still of《主管再見》See You, Sir!

那今年金穗獎你有看到幾部就在高雄電影節有看到的一些影片吗?

黃晧傑:有啊。《小洋》,《主管再見》,學生的片《拉格朗日》。還有一個是《看無風景》動畫。就是每個的類型都有個別那種很突出的厲害的作品。我覺得他們是用一種比較純粹的方式在看電影。那是比較難的。


As the programme director of the Kaohsiung Film Festival, do you see any difference between the stories from the north and south of Taiwan?

The most obvious difference would be the use of Taiwanese and Hakka in student films from the southern part of Taiwan. For northern Taiwan, most of the films are set in the city as compared to the countryside. From the difference in setting, it is obvious that there are more films coming from the southern schools that are more ‘Taiwan-flavoured’. For those set in the city, most are about romance or the isolation and loneliness of city life. These are more common in the films from the northern part.

身為高雄電影節的那個主辦,你看得到說南部跟北部的故事有不一樣的味吗?

黃晧傑:那最直接就是演員的東西像台語的東西在南部的學生片就很多,那客家也是。然後在北部其實就都會的片子非常多,鄉下的片子就非常少。所以基本上從場景上的區隔就可以看得出這種比較台灣local道地的片子就是在南部的學校就偏多。你不要偏台灣自己的那種味道的片子就會比較多。那都會型的片子就是一些城市的戀愛或者說城市本身的疏離感。人性的那種在城市裡面的那種流浪。其實它都會在北部的學生片能看到比較明顯。

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