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2018 Hualien Festival

The Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival and NDHU’s Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures are very happy to announce the Hualien edition of the 2018 Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival (TIEFF), the oldest and longest running festival of its kind in Asia, featuring eleven films specially selected from the 42 films that appeared at last year’s festival in Taipei. The festival will run for four days, from 5/2 to 5/5. All films have both English and Chinese subtitles and are free and open to the public. The full schedule is below.

Seven of the films are about indigenous Taiwanese issues, including two films by this year’s featured Taiwanese director, Etan Pavavalung. Etan is an indigenous artist from the Paiwan community of Paridrayan in Pingtung county, located in the mountains of southern Taiwan. Etan’s work is grounded in the concept of vecik, a Paiwan word which expresses a number of symbolic activities which he has translated as “trace-layer-carve-paint.” This reflects both the diversity of Etan’s own artistic output, which spans multiple media, including drawing, painting, engraving, printing, and installation art, as well as his vision of art as an inscription of nature. His documentary films are no different and are best seen as an extension of vecik into yet another medium.

We are also pleased to feature “Path of Destiny” directed by Yang Chun-Kai, a professor in the Department of Language and Communication at NDHU’s College of Indigenous Studies, which documents a group of Sikawasay from the Amis tribe of Hualien, Taiwan, known as the people who possess gods. This fate calls upon them to maintain traditional rituals to serve the tribe, living by way of interaction with the gods. The film follows the work of Panay Mulu, who is also a professor at NDHU’s College of Indigenous Studies (in the Department of Ethnic Relations and Cultures). Panay has been with the Sikawasay for more than 20 years, working to record the traditional rituals that are about to disappear, and also capture stories of their unique life. In the end, Panay Mulu felt that the gods had also guided her to face her own “path of destiny.”

The closing film of the festival is Sweetgrass by Ilisa Barbash and Lucien Castaing-Taylor. Castaing-Taylor was this year’s featured international director. His “sensory” approach to ethnographic filmmaking seeks to capture the immersive experience of long-term fieldwork and de-emphasizes spoken language in favor of the visual and auditory aspects of the ethnographic encounter. As a result of this approach, these films are deeply aesthetic experiences that have deservedly been as celebrated in the art world as they have been by academics.

Because of the tremendous cinematic beauty of some of these films, we are very happy to announce that this year we will be able to, for the first time, screen some of the festival films at Hualiane’s Showtime Cinema. See the schedule for the time and location of each film, as well as whether or not there will be a post-film Q&A with the director.

Films will be held either at National Dong Hwa University (NDHU) or Showtime Cinema in Hualien, as listed in the program. See here for directions to NDHU. See here for directions to Showtime Cinema.

For the latest updates to our program, please “like” our page on Facebook.

If you have any questions, contact 楊清智 (Qing-Zhi Yang) at s8511060 [at] gmail [dot] com

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

09:10 screening
53 minutes · In B201 (Taluan) at the College of Indigenous Studies at NDHU. To be followed by a Q&A with the director.

Resurgence

Over the years, we have been educated to teach our children to be upstanding Chinese people, but have received no education on how to live a tribal community. When a group of professionals and wise members of the tribal community aspire to use traditional tribal values to educate our next generation, they are met with unfriendly government policies that force…
09:10 screening
65 minutes · In Room B106 at the College of Indigenous Studies at NDHU. To be followed by a Q&A with the director.

Sailing A Sinking Sea

Sailing A Sinking Sea explores the culture of the Moken people of Myanmar and Thailand. The Moken are a nomadic seafaring community and one of the smallest ethnic groups in Asia. Spending eight months out of the year in thatch-roofed wooden boats, they are wholly reliant upon the sea, and their entire belief system revolves around water. Filmed on boats,…
14:10 screening
51 minutes · In room A151 at the College of Indigenous Studies at NDHU. To be followed by a Q&A with the director.

The Memory of Orality

This film looks at the work of a research team that has spent long years keeping records of Atayal culture and history. They study Lmuhuw – ancient Atayal singing – in traditional territories, learning about Atayals’ past through the mouths of elders. Lmuhuw is the Atayalic equivalent of Roman epic poetry. It passes down old migration routes, ancestors’ teachings, place…
14:10 screening
54 minutes · In room B201 at the College of Indigenous Studies at NDHU. To be followed by a Q&A with the director.

Mountain Tribe, Sea Tribe

In June 2014, the harvest festival of the tribe was just around the corner. Two local Pulima people in Taiwan felt called to the artistry of the land on one side, and the forest on the other side, and they met each other in Champagne-Ardenne, France, to go on a trip of spirituality. Etan Pavavalung is an indigenous Paiwanese artist…

Thursday, May 3, 2018

09:10 screening
48 minutes · Screening will be held in B106, at the College of Indigenous Studies at NDHU.
14:10 screening
48 minutes · In room B106 at the College of Environmental Sciences at NDHU. To be followed by a Q&A with the director.

Kalay Ngasan: Our Home

Born in 1981, a Nanao Atayal from Yilan, Wu Ta Elementary School teacher Wilang hunted with elders in the mountains and learned rattan weaving techniques since he was a boy. He has an old soul that is passionate about Atayal culture. In 2014, Wilang embarked on the “Finding our Roots Project” at Wu Ta Elementary School. He took school children…
14:10 screening
75 minutes · In Room B106 at the College of Indigenous Studies at NDHU.

Guru, a Hijra Family

We, the hijras, are born neither man nor woman. We are born somewhere in the middle. Our name was mentioned in Sanskrit texts, more than a thousand years ago. It evoked beauty, bravery, and straightforwardness. I try to act as a good guru towards my daughters, I want to teach them how to live properly. It’s not enough to only…

Friday, May 4, 2018

09:10 screening
53 minutes · Screening will be held in B106, at the College of Indigenous Studies at NDHU.

Resurgence

Over the years, we have been educated to teach our children to be upstanding Chinese people, but have received no education on how to live a tribal community. When a group of professionals and wise members of the tribal community aspire to use traditional tribal values to educate our next generation, they are met with unfriendly government policies that force…
17:00 screening
81 minutes · Screening will be held at Showtime Cinema in Hualien. Screening will be followed by a Q&A with the directors (via Skype).

Burma Storybook

Poetry is immensely popular in Burma/Myanmar, a country emerging from years of dictatorship and isolation. In the past, poetry was a way to endure and resist tyranny. Today, there are more online poets than bloggers. The stories and poems in Burma Storybook circle around Maung Aung Pwint, the country’s most famous dissident poet alive today, as he waits for his…
19:10 screening
61 minutes · Screening will be held at Showtime Cinema in Hualien. Screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director.

Dialogue Among Tribes

My father, Du-Ya, left the Amis tribe and went to Taipei City as a construction worker when he was an adolescent. He later returned to his hometown after he got married, and adopted fishing as his career in Shih-Ti Habor, Hualien. Fishing was his way of making a living. However, he still needed to leave home occasionally to seek labor…
21:00 screening
75 minutes · Screening will be held at Showtime Cinema in Hualien. Screening will be followed by a Q&A with the directors (via Skype).

Guru, a Hijra Family

We, the hijras, are born neither man nor woman. We are born somewhere in the middle. Our name was mentioned in Sanskrit texts, more than a thousand years ago. It evoked beauty, bravery, and straightforwardness. I try to act as a good guru towards my daughters, I want to teach them how to live properly. It’s not enough to only…

Saturday, May 5, 2018

17:00 screening
71 minutes · Screening will be held at Showtime Cinema in Hualien. Screening will be followed by a Q&A with the director.

Path of Destiny

Path of Destiny is a documentary about a group of Sikawasay from the Amis tribe of Hualien, Taiwan, known as the people who possess gods. This fate calls upon them to maintain traditional rituals to serve the tribe, living by way of interaction with the gods. We followed Panay Mulu, who has been with them for more than 20 years,…
19:00 screening
48 minutes · Screening will be held at Showtime Cinema in Hualien. Screening will be followed by a Q&A with the directors (via Skype).
20:35 screening
101 minutes · Screening will be held at Showtime Cinema in Hualien. Screening will be preceded by a short discussion with one of the directors (via Skype).

Sweetgrass

An unsentimental elegy to the American West, Sweetgrass follows the last modern‐day cowboys to lead their flocks of sheep up into Montana’s Absaroka‐Beartooth mountains for summer pasture. This astonishingly beautiful yet unsparing film reveals a world in which nature and culture, animals and humans, vulnerability and violence are all intimately meshed.