Taiwanese animation among films selected for Busan festival

2017/10/05 22:42:29 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
director Sung Hsin-Yin

director Sung Hsin-Yin

Taipei, Oct. 5 (CNA) Animation film "On Happiness Road" (幸福路上), about a woman's growth and search for happiness, is among the Taiwanese films selected for screening at this year's Busan International Film Festival (BIFF) in South Korea.

The 109-minute animation by director Sung Hsin-Yin (宋欣穎) is about a girl named Lin Shu-chi who moves to Taipei with her parents at the age of six and who strives to become a good student to meet the expectations of her parents.

Lin later works and gets married in the United States, but discovers that she has lost herself and drifted away from happiness along the way.

After her grandmother's death, Lin returns to her home in Taiwan on Happiness Road, where she begins to contemplate the meaning of life and search for her own happiness.

"The film is like the Taiwan version of 'Persepolis' combined with 'Forrest Gump,'" Sung told reporters in Taipei on Thursday, referring to the French-Iranian coming-of-age animation "Persepolis" and American comedy-drama "Forrest Gump."

"It is about a girl who, after she grew up, began to ponder what her happiness looks like, and how her childhood, upbringing, education and society affected her," Sung said. "It is a story about growth."

Sung said she wrote the screenplay in 2008 when she was studying film in the United States. In 2012, she produced a 12-minute short animation based on the screenplay and the animation went on to win the Golden Horse Film Project Promotion's Grand Prize the following year.

That encouraged her to develop the short animation into a feature-length film, the director said.

When she first mulled the idea of an animation feature, all of her friends convinced her not to because it is difficult to get funding for animation films, Sung said.

It was also a risky decision because no one in her team had produced an animation feature before and it was difficult to find a 2-D animator in Taiwan because most animators make 3-D films nowadays, she said.

But her "strong paranoia" told her that the story, which involved a lot of fantasy, exaggeration and even the dream world, needed to be told in an animation format, Sung said.

"I am very glad that the film was selected, not only because I can tell this story about Taiwan in Busan, but also because it is a great encouragement to my team," she said.

The main character Lin was voiced by Taiwanese actress Gwei Lun-mei (桂綸鎂), while director Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖) voiced the part of Lin's cousin.

"On Happiness Road" will have its world premiere in the Wide Angle: Animation Showcase section of the film festival, which will run from Oct. 12-21.

Other Taiwanese films that will be screened at the festival include the drama "The Last Verse," "The Bold, the Corrupt and the Beautiful," "The Great Buddha+" and "Missing Johnny."

They also include crime thriller "Pigeon Tango," horror fantasy short film "Myth," and documentary "Blood Amber," which is about people working in the amber mines in the forests of Myanmar.

Romantic drama "The Last Verse," directed by Tseng Ying-ting (曾英庭), will compete for the New Currents Award along with nine other films in that category.

Director Chienn Hsiang's (錢翔) film project "Increasing Echo" was selected by the festival's Asian Project Market, while "Myth," by director Hao Fang-wei (郝芳葳), will compete in the Wide Angle: Asian Short Film Competition section.

(By Christie Chen)

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