Taiwan human rights film festival to screen 11 works from home and abroad

The Taiwan International Human Rights Film Festival is set to screen 11 works from home and abroad on topics spanning digital rights, migration, political persecution, same-sex discrimination and social justice.

Organized by the National Human Rights Museum, the event will run Sept. 6-8 at Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei City and Sept. 17-25 at Kaohsiung Film Archive in southern Taiwan.

The selected works comprise documentaries and narrative features from countries and territories including Taiwan, Brazil, Cambodia, Germany, Hong Kong, Myanmar, the U.K. and the U.S. Screenings will be followed by discussions and workshops on issues raised by the movies.

According to NHRM Director Chen Jung-hong, this year's lineup is intended to prompt reflection on the meaning of oppression as well as the manner in which corruption and complicity undermine democratic institutions.

The opening film is Umbrella Diaries: The First Umbrella, a documentary by James Leong exploring the origins of large-scale pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong during 2014. It was nominated for best documentary at the last year's Golden Horse Awards, Taiwan's equivalent of the Oscars.

Equally impressive is Unremember, the debut feature film by Brazilian director Flavia Castro. It follows Joana, a teenager who returns from Paris to her native Brazil in 1979 and must confront the disappearance of her father during the period of military dictatorship.

Also included are documentaries Homesick Tongue and That's the Way I Am. The former examines the lives of Southeast Asian women immigrants to Taiwan, while the latter tells the story of Phyo Thit Luu, a gay man and LGBT rights activist in Myanmar, where homosexuality is criminalized.

After completing its run in Kaohsiung, the festival will tour Taiwan for two months starting in early October, showcasing films on school campuses and communities in remote areas. Taiwan director Huang Shu-mei, who chairs the film festival, said the additional screenings are aimed at boosting human rights awareness and sparking discussions on democratic and social development in every corner of the country.

Staged annually, the Taiwan International Human Rights Film Festival was launched in 2017 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the lifting of martial law on Taiwan proper.

Source: NGO