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New crowdfunding campaign launched for Taiwan history films

2021-01-22  English News

Taipei, Jan. 20 (CNA) Acclaimed Taiwanese filmmaker Wei Te-sheng launched a second crowdfunding campaign Wednesday to raise money for his planned film series on the early history of Taiwan, with some of the donors allowed to tour the film sets and take home props.

On the campaign website, donors are invited to contribute either NT$240,000 (US$8,374) or NT$360,000, and will in return get movie tickets, as well as outfits or weapons used in the filming of the series, Wei said at a press conference announcing the launch.

Those who give NT$360,000 will also get to tour the film sets and participate in creating simple sets or props, such as planting vegetation or making clothing from tree bark, Wei said.

The tours will be conducted in groups of 10 to 20 people, and participants will be able to take photos, he added.

"In Taiwan, the greatest challenge for filmmakers is attracting audiences to see their films," said Wei.

By allowing people interested in the films to participate in the actual filming process, he continued, an audience base can be created before the films are even released.

He expressed hope that if the crowdfunding campaign goes well, other Taiwanese films will also be able to use the same method for raising money in the future.

Wei's film project, "Taiwan 400 Years," consists of three features, a documentary and an animated film. Filming is scheduled to begin in August, and the first film will be released in 2024.

The feature films are all set in the 17th century, but are told from the perspectives of three different groups in Taiwan at the time -- indigenous Siraya hunters and gatherers, ethnic Chinese pirates and Dutch missionaries -- according to Wei.

The large-scale project is Wei's first following his two-part historical drama "Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale," which was released in 2011 and revolves around the Wushe Incident, a major uprising of indigenous people in Taiwan against the ruling Japanese at the time.

Wei has said that after making Seediq Bale, he felt he had told the story of other people's ancestors, but with the "Taiwan 400 Years" project, he wanted to tell the story of his own ancestors.

The crowdfunding campaign is being organized in collaboration with LnB, a peer-to-peer lending platform operated by Taiwanese company Robo Web Tech Co.

The platform only allows payments from individuals with Taiwanese residency and a bank account in Taiwan, so only those who fit this criteria can donate to the campaign, according to Joanna Yang, the founder and CEO of Robo Web Tech.

Another crowdfunding website for the film, which was launched in August last year, has already raised more than NT$124.5 million, with the support of 24,243 donors. Wei has estimated that the total funding needed for the project is NT$4.5 billion.

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