Hitting the Taiwan market

Hitting the Taiwan market
PHOTO: The New Paper

Local director Royston Tan is making his foray into Taiwan with not one but two of his works next month.

The 39-year-old, who will be attending the annual Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival on Nov 14 and staying in Taipei for five days, will see his Chinese-language musical-themed film 3688 premiere at the event. The film opened here last month.

The screenplay for his next movie 1998 has also been chosen by the festival committee for script development. This will open up opportunities when it comes to meeting with potential investors.

According to him, 1998 is an arthouse project inspired by the story of a real man who wishes to return to the year 1998.

Speaking to The New Paper, Tan said: "I am very excited and happy to meet up with the Taiwanese audience.

"Initially, I was a bit worried because 3688 is something so local. However, the movie is garnering a lot of attention there now due to its Feng Fei-fei-related content and it's an encouraging step for a local film."

The late legendary Taiwanese singer, who was popular in the 1980s and died in 2012 at the age of 58 from lung cancer, was often referred to as the Queen of Hats because of the signature headgear she donned during performances.

The movie 3688 is about a parking attendant named Fei Fei (Joi Chua) who is a big fan of Feng. She joins a singing competition and performs Feng's songs such as her classic ballad Applause.

Tan said that he met up with a Taiwanese fan of Feng, who was dressed like her idol in a pink pants suit and matching beret, when she was in Singapore last month.

"As 3688 was not out yet then, I showed her a trailer and it moved her to tears," he said. "I think she will be looking forward to seeing the film in Taiwan when it screens there."

Tan said that the Feng Fei-fei fan club in Taiwan has expressed excitement over 3688 and has organised a gathering for fans from different parts of Taiwan to attend the film festival premiere in Taipei.

He said: "I think they are all quite surprised to know that Feng Fei-fei's music is popular not only in Taiwan but also in the rest of Asia.

"I heard that someone bought 70 tickets to the screening and I will show up to surprise them."

The movie will also get a commercial release in cinemas in Taiwan, but the date has not been confirmed.

Box office

Budgeted at $1.2 million, it grossed over $461,000 at the Singapore box office.

Tan is not too concerned about the figures, saying: "For me, I usually do not have box-office aims.

"The happiness index of the moviegoers is my kind of box office. When people enjoy the film, that is good enough. Box-office 'figures' can come in different forms."

The 3688-Taiwan link is extra meaningful for Tan.

He said that 3688 was chosen for script development opportunities at the Golden Horse Film Festival in 2013, like how 1998 was selected this year, and returning to the country to screen it is like coming full circle.

He said: "Feng Fei-fei has a special place in the hearts of Taiwanese. I want to bring out their best memories with this film, I hope I am able to do that."

This article was first published on October 30, 2015.
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