2021 Kaohsiung Film Festival
【◎Written by Hou Ya-ting ◎English translation by Lin Yu-ciao】
The recent 2021 Kaohsiung Film Festival (KFF) celebrated the theme “PSY Paradise,” inspired by surrealism, to reflect the pandemic that has been raging throughout the world.
In response to the heavy restrictions and disordered lives caused by COVID-19, KFF specially selected a number of surreal and experimental films including More, Zabriskie Point, The Holy Mountain 4K Restoration, Barton Fink, and Black Moon. The much-anticipated films were screened from October 15 to October 31, at movie theaters and via the festival's online platform. These classic movies create an oasis for the soul, and allow cinema fans to mentally wander through the works.
As the pandemic continues, KFF has moved toward being an online event, allowing it to reach a broader group of viewers and increasing the visibility of featured films. Since 2017, KFF has also dedicated space to the realms of VR and XR, as well as other new media works.
XR Dreamland, first launched in 2019, this year featured three main categories: Kaohsiung VR FILM LAB Originals; the VR Competition; and XR Panorama. In all, 33 immersive works were included, with those in the Kaohsiung VR FILM LAB Originals category drawing particular attention from filmmakers and industry professionals in different parts of the world. The global film industry now regards works presented in Kaohsiung VR FILM LAB Originals as a crucial opportunity to observe and understand Taiwan's progress in new media.
In addition to bringing XR experiences to viewers, KFF launched a VR-headset rental package that allows viewers to walk through VR environments and experience immersive works at home.
After ten years of hard work, KFF's International Short Film Competition has become the third-most-important competition of its kind in Asia, after the Busan International Short Film Festival and Tokyo's Short Shorts Film Festival & Asia. The top prize in the Taiwan section of the International Short Film Competition — the Golden Fireball Award — was presented to Huang Shih-rou for the animated work Girl in the Water. In the international section, the winner was The Game, directed by Roman Hodel; it defeated 39 works from around the world. The VR Golden Fireball Award was won by Macro & Polo Go Round, directed by Benjamin Steiger Levine.
KFF pays tribute to hardworking filmmakers and continues to cultivate outstanding creators of cinematic works. During the difficult times of the pandemic, Kaohsiung's ability to host such an event deserves appreciation and recognition.
Kaohsiung Film Festival official website: