‘Comfort Women’ film festival kicks off in Taipei

Taipei-- Five documentaries and feature films from home and abroad will be shown at the 2017 International "Comfort Women" Human Rights Film Festival, featuring stories that detail the horrors faced by women forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II and other issues of wartime violence.

Embracing the theme of "Women's Power," the festival started on Thursday and will run through Aug. 13. In that period several documentaries will be shown, including "Twenty Two," which focuses on comfort women in China, "The Apology," featuring stories of comfort women from South Korea, China and the Philippines, and "Song of the Reed," telling the stories of Taiwanese comfort women, according to the event organizer.

The festival will also show two feature films that focus on wartime violence -- "As If I'm Not There," by Irish director Juanita Wilson and "For Those Who Can Tell No Tales," a film from Bosnia directed by Jasmila Zbanic, said Kang Shu-hua (???), curator of Ama Museum, which is organizing the event.

In addition, several of the documentary directors will hold seminars on Saturday, Kang said at a press conference on Thursday.

Participating directors include Cho Jung-lae from South Korea. His film "Spirits Homecoming," tells the stories of Korean comfort women.

The film was scheduled to be shown at the festival, but had to be withdrawn due to distribution issues, Kang said.

Roh Young-wan of Jo Entertainment, which produced "Spirits Homecoming," also attended Thursday's press conference. He expressed hope that the film will be shown in Taiwan in the future.

Guo Ke (??) from China, director of "Twenty Two," Tiffany Hsiung from Canada, director of "The Apology" and Wu Hsiu-ching (???) from Taiwan, director of "Song of the Reed," will also hold a seminar.

At Thursday's event, Guo suggested greater attention needs to be paid to the issue of comfort women. "We should all use our own ways to care for them," he said.

Ama Museum, established by the Taipei Women's Rescue Foundation, is the first museum in Taiwan dedicated to preserving the stories of former Taiwanese comfort women.

Since 1992, the foundation has worked to help comfort women cope with the mental and emotional scars inflicted by their experiences, while seeking justice and compensation from Japan. It has also documented the women's stories.

More than 2,000 Taiwanese women were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army during World War II and only two who have spoken openly about their suffering are still alive, according to the foundation.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel