The total number of submissions received by the 37th Golden Harvest Awards for Outstanding Short Films, the 2014 short films subsidy program, and the 2014 open call for outstanding film scripts has hit a new high this year, according to the Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development and the Taiwan Film Institute.
The annual awards and the two programs, which are three major indicators of Taiwan’s audiovisual industry development, have received more and more submissions in recent years. This year saw a 10 percent increase, up to 780 from 704 in 2013.
The success of various locally produced blockbusters such as “Zone Pro Site” (總舖師) and “David Loman” (大尾鱸鰻), to the popular reception of short film “A Breath from the Bottom” (狀況排除), have proved that small productions and films of different genres can still stand out.
The number of college departments devoted to audiovisual productions and the performing arts as well as the number of students being admitted to them have both grown significantly, said film director Lee You-ning (李祐寧), adding that it shows the growing popularity of the audiovisual industry among the younger generation.
Moreover, the scripts, techniques, and funds are easier to obtain for short films, in comparison to feature films, he noted. Young people’s courage and the complete change in techniques and technology have also contributed to the increase in submissions, he said.
The Golden Harvest Awards received nearly 30 more submissions this year. The categories that saw the most growth are mainly drama films, followed by students’ experimental works, which also rose sharply.
“Looking at this year’s titles, drama films seem to be moving in the direction of genre films, with such words as ‘hunt,’ ‘swallow,’ ‘body,’ ‘life,’ ‘death,’ and ‘kill’ popping up,” noted director Lee Tian-jue (李天爵), who has previously judged for the Golden Harvest Awards.
“The eye-catching themes probably indicate the new generation of artists’ yearning and attempt for new things and changes. Positive, inspirational documentaries have decreased while topics on social protests have greatly increased. I hope there will be more documentaries that tell the truth,” said Lee.
In addition to the record number of applications, the submitted films also demonstrate “quantity, breadth, and quality,” so fierce competition is to be expected, according to the Bureau. The subsidy program is scheduled to announce its recipients by the end of December, while the awards and the open call will release their nomination lists by January 2015.