Taiwan’s Shih wins best director award at Vancouver film festival

Taipei, Shih Hsiang-te (???), director of the short film "Will to Fly," has won the Red Maple Leaf Award for Best Director at the Vancouver International Chinese Film Festival (VCFF).

Shih, 35, said he was delighted that the movie had attracted that type of attention, since there are not many films that focus on rare diseases and disorders.

He said the award not only provided a sense of achievement, but was a great encouragement to people suffering from rare genetic disorders, and for their families, because it allowed a better understanding of such health issues.

"Will to fly" is about the challenges faced by the family of a five-year-old girl who has type II spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a regressive genetic disease that increasingly affects a person's ability to function.

Hsieh Tsu-wu (???), who plays the girl's father, said the movie was made mainly to help raise awareness of SMA.

"This award is a great encouragement for SMA patients and their families because it offers a chance for people to learn more about the disease," Hsieh said.

After the award ceremony July 21 in Canada, Shih spoke to reporters and encouraged SMA patients to never give up.

"When there is a will, there is always hope," he said.

The film was made in collaboration with the advocacy organization Taiwan Spinal Muscular Atrophy Families with the aim of raising awareness of the disease.

The 6th VCFF award ceremony, held at the Michael J. Fox Theatre, featured some 50 awards.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel