Tainan to host international 39-hour short film fest

TAIPEI, Taiwan - The Cultural Affairs Bureau of the Tainan City Government recently held a press conference to announce the 4th Tainan 39-hour Short Film Contestival, a short film festival organised and curated by Tainan residing Malaysian filmmaker Lynne Tai  and Dayeh University assistant professor Till DiLumiere from Germany.

Yeh Tse-shan, the bureau's Director General, expressed his excitement during the press conference while stating that the festival has evolved into an international event. Tai, one of the curators of the festival, also encouraged all contestants to join in on the goal of making Tainan a filmmaking city.

According to the event's organizers, the festival is supported by the German Institute Taipei, the Goethe Institute in Taipei, the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD, and the Ji-Ee Charitable Foundation Tainan.

The festival initially began five years ago as a screening of German short films that were curated by Berlin International Short Film Festival's CEO Heinz Hermanns. Since then, it has transformed into what it is today, an international short film contest and festival, with this year's competition scheduled for April 11-19.

The festival will kick off on the weekend of April 11 with lectures from filmmakers, local film instructors and researchers. The film experts will host discussion panels on the topic of "The Art of Short Films," during the Tainan Short Film Conference.

The festival will also open with a special screening of German short films on the weekend, with the National Student Short Film Competition to be hosted on April 12. "Anybody currently registered as a student at a Taiwanese university is still eligible to submit a short film of any genre," DiLumiere said.

"The winning student film will receive a cash prize of NT$30,000 and a Panasonic FZ 1000 digital camera sponsored by Panasonic Taiwan. Short Films can be submitted until Feb. 25, with application forms available at the festival's official website. Short films should be under 15 minutes long with Chinese and English subtitles."

Open Call for Team Registrations

The festival's main event, the film contest itself, will begin at 9 p.m. on April 17 and will run until noon of April 19, i.e., for 39 hours, organizers said. The festival challenges 39 filmmaking teams to make 39 shorts that are no more than 5 minutes long.

Interested filmmakers have until midnight on Feb. 8 to register at http://39register.asc.tnc.gov.tw, Tai said, and the names of the selected 39 teams will be announced on March 1. According to the organizer, last year's contest garnered 100 applications from teams all over Taiwan and from Hong Kong.

DiLumiere also added that teams will be assigned their genre on March 6, so that filmmakers have over a month to prepare their script.

Teams are allowed to prepare anything short of shooting actual footage, but they are allowed to rehearse with the actors and first write the English-Chinese bilingual subtitles into their editing timeline. "To ensure fairness, teams will draw their shooting location in Tainan at the beginning of the contest at 9 p.m. on Friday April 17." DiLumiere said.

The winning film will be awarded the Tainan Gold Award, said Tai, which consists of the Tainan39 trophy, an award of NT$30,000, two plane tickets to Berlin and a guaranteed screening at the 31st Berlin International Short Film Festival in November.

DiLumiere went on to quote Greater Tainan Mayor William Lai , an avid supporter of the festival since it first began, as saying "The shortest way to Berlin is via Tainan!"