Veteran entertainers Brigitte Lin (林青霞) and Shih Chun (石雋), as well as renowned director Lee Hsing (李行), have been appointed by the Ministry of Culture as “cultural ambassadors” of a nationwide program to rescue Taiwan's old movies from deterioration.
“Old movies are like museums of national memories,” Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said at a press conference on Oct. 24, three days ahead of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage.
She pointed out that old movies are the common assets of the Taiwanese people, and that audio and video materials have preserved the valuable history of the country in ways that are not possible for other media forms.
Pointing out how Showtime Cinemas and Union Film Company have each donated NT$500,000 (US$16,923) to support the program, she urged more domestic businesses to follow suit and pitch in to help preserve these national treasures.
The Ministry has budgeted NT$46 million for two years to rescue old movie reels. Some 500 films are in need of restoration, but restoring each old movie will cost approximately NT$3 million to NT$4 million, Lung said.
“Rescuing old movies and fostering the production of new movies are the top priorities for the film industry, since each movie represents our common memories and stands for an era as well as the history and culture of Taiwan," said veteran actress Lin, who returned from Hong Kong for the press conference.
Director Lee expressed his pleasure that people from all walks of life are willing to participate in the program.
A total of 13 old Taiwanese movies, including “Brother Liu and Brother Wang on the Roads in Taiwan” (王哥柳哥遊臺灣), "Returning to Anping Port” (回到安平港), “A Touch of Zen” (俠女) and “Cloud of Romance” (我是一片雲), will be prioritized for restoration under the program.
To celebrate the upcoming World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, the Ministry will also collaborate with 54 cinemas around the country to screen the classic Taiwanese movie “Dragon Gate Inn” (龍門客棧) – which features the newly appointed cultural ambassador Shih – on Oct. 27.