"2018 Crossing Borders" — an international workshop and proposal summit for training documentary professionals from Europe and Asia — will take place in Taipei from July 28 through Aug. 1.
Jointly organized by the Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development (BAMID), National Geographic Channel, EU-funded non-profit organization Documentary Campus, and European Documentary Networks (EDN), "Crossing Borders" will take place in Taiwan for the first time.
For the inaugural program in Taipei, the organizers have invited 11 top-notch documentary professionals from Denmark, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, and the United Kingdom who have long been filming documentaries for BBC, CNN, NHK, TLC, Discovery, and National Geographic.
The 11 mentors will host 10 workshops and 6 one-on-one consultations for 20 Taiwan-based teams ― 12 of whom will partake in the proposal summit, accompanied by 7 other groups from Europe and 3 from other countries in Asia.
On Aug. 1, the fifth day of the program, 4 groups will be chosen from the 12 Taiwanese groups to attend the second phase of the workshop that will be held in late October in Leipzig, Germany. There, the four select teams will receive instructions from 40 professionals, expand their social networks, and seek production resources from global investors at a large-scale proposal conference.
The Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development pointed out that via the workshops and the proposal conference, participants will be able to learn more about the planning, writing, editing, budgeting, copyright, and marketing aspects of a successful documentary proposal.
The Taiwan teams include both veteran and emerging documentary producers who are interested in subjects ranging from humanitarian issues to nature and ecology. Their collective portfolio include diverse productions such as "Starlight in the Ruins (廢墟裡的星光)," "The Mysterious Night Hunter — The Eastern Grass Owl (草地王者-草鴞)," "LOMA Our Home (LOMA我們的家)," and "Miracle (神明事務所)."
BAMID Director Hsu Yi-chun (徐宜君) noted at the opening ceremony that since 2010, Documentary Campus and EDN have launched "Crossing Borders" by designating one Asian country per year, including Malaysia, Indonesia, and South Korea, to co-organize the project. As the 2018 host nation, Taiwan holds great potential as a documentary producer, she added.
Hsu also compared documentaries to photo albums. Through different genres of documentaries, people all over the world can better understand the culture, history, landscapes, ecology, and vitality of the people in Taiwan. Moreover, by partaking in this project, Taiwan-based documentary producers are able to obtain global funding and build international networks.
The esteemed mentors of 2018 Crossing Borders include Emmy-winning documentary producer Chiara Belatti; British documentary filmmakers Steven Seidenberg and Christopher Hale; Lise Anne Scott, legal director of Netflix's Singapore office; Laura Glassman, vice president of National Geographic Asia; Andrew Edelson, head of Fox Content Labs; and Devika A. Rao, producer at National Geographic Asia.
The first session in Taiwan and the second session in Germany will both be free of charge for all Taiwan teams. In addition, a third session will be held at National Geographic's Taipei office on Dec. 8 and 9 that will require the 12 teams from Taiwan to make another documentary proposal to compete.
The outstanding team(s) of the third session may well become the new production crew of National Geographic's "Taiwan to the World (綻放真臺灣)" series. Other teams will also have the opportunity to broadcast their own documentaries on National Geographic.