There are two film festivals on this month in your city that I suspect slipped under the radar for many people. Hands up, who of you reading this right now knew that both the Taiwan International Documentary Festival and the Urban Nomad Film Festival were on the May event calendar?
Well, good thing you know now, because the former is on right now, and the latter is in a couple of days.
So what are these festivals, and why should you go? Here’s a brief rundown of each:
Urban Nomad Film Fest
On Now! May 12-22
WHAT:Urban Nomad Film Fest is the darling of Taiwan’s indie film scene, a title it has held proudly for over a decade. With this year marking its 14th year, the festival will screen over 30 captivating local and international films over 10 days. Spanning a healthy cross-section of music, art and documentary films, many of the features have scooped impressive awards in the international movie scene.
From the edgy documentary ‘the Yes Men are Revolting’, a documentary which follows the social activist group which has led remarkable media hoaxes to expose corporate crimes, to ‘Forgotten Territories’, an experimental documentary which probes into the fragile history between Japan, Korea and China to shed new insights into their relationships with one another, Urban Nomad’s strength lies in both its grassroots format and the very deliberate selection of provocative movies which will prompt viewers to continue to mull over long after the curtains have closed.
The organisers of Urban Nomad describe the festival as follows:
“Our event style is inspired by punk rock’s DIY ethic, and our focus is on culture, community and the issues that are important to the world right now.”
HOW MUCH: NT$230. *Advance tickets at a discount until May 11 can be bought here.
WHERE: There are two venues-
- Wonderful Theater (真善美戲院)
7F #116 Hanzhong St, Taipei. Nearest station is Ximen MRT Exit 6.
- Moonshiner @ Woolloomooloo Ximen
#2, Lane 120, Sec 2, Wuchang St, Taipei. Nearest station is Ximen MRT Exit 6.
OTHER NOTES: Interestingly, Urban Nomad primarily receives funding from its fans, and is the only major film festival in Taiwan which doesn’t receive government funding. ‘The arts’ bring so much in the way of culture, discussion and richness to this, and every society, so it’s important for us as individuals to support it within our capacity. And when we can achieve this by catching a movie or two, it’s a wonderful way to make sure Taiwan’s art scene continues to thrive.
MORE INFO: Visit the Urban Nomad Homepage for more detailed information and for the schedule.
Taiwan International Documentary Festival
May 06-15 (Finished!)
WHAT: TIDF celebrates a colourful mixture of both local and international documentaries, and this year, a total of 134 films will be screened.
The films cover themes of identity, history, geography, politics and daily life. Expect to be moved as you delve into the lives of the forgotten, startled by different perspectives and captivated by visions of unseen lands and unheard stories.
This year, the Taiwan International Documentary Festival (TIDF) is celebrating 18 years since its humble conception. Founded in 1998, the festival opened with 84 titles. Originally a bi-annual festival, its burgeoning popularity saw it slowly transform into a once a year fixture.
According to the organisers, today, TIDF:
“…preserves its traditions as well as blazes new trails, aiming to present diversity, break boundaries and bring back the essence of documentary”.
HOW MUCH: In an effort to encourage accessibility and interest in the festival, tickets are ridiculously affordable at NT$100 per film, or $500 for 10 films.
WHERE: There are two main venues-
- Shin Kong Cineplex.
4F, No. 36, Xining S. Rd., Taipei City. Nearest MRT is Ximen.
- SPOT Cinema at Huashan.
No. 1, Sec. 1, Bade Rd., Taipei City. Nearest MRT is Zhongxiao Xinsheng.
OTHER NOTES: There’s also a bunch of talks, performances, and even an early morning yoga session to compliment the film program.
MORE INFO: Visit the TIDF Homepage for more detailed information and for the schedule.
I’ll end this overview with the following poignant quote from the organisers, which I think beautifully captures the uniqueness of the documentary as a medium of expression:
“As we progress along the trail of documentary, future does not lie ahead of us but rather in the past.”