The YAMAGATA Documentary Film Library Friday Theater （December 13 Fri）
Screenings at the Yamagata Documentary Film Library present documentaries and movies rarely shown on television or in theaters, including works from the Film Library vaults.
Almost a Revolution 14:00-（single screening）
YIDFF 2015 New Asian Currents Special Invitation Film
Dir: Kwok Tat Chun, Kong King Chu / HONG KONG / 2015 / 174 min
The Occupy Central movement called for civil disobedience in the middle of Hong Kong’s financial district, in pursuit of democratic elections. The movement attracted many sympathetic students and citizens, and became known around the world as the “Umbrella Revolution” in 2014. This film closely follows the action on the ground: debates within the movement, street speeches, the unofficial referendum which was held as part of the campaign, and the student-led protests at the Central Government Office. It examines the tumultuous thoughts and feelings of seven activists who were there at the heart of the struggle.
Some call it a revolution. Others think this is an exaggeration. The debate on the definition of “revolution” can drag on forever. Yet, it is no doubt a historic event of Hong Kong people fighting for democracy. As a documentary filmmaker, I felt overwhelmed with mixed emotions when I realized that history was unfolding before my camera. With limited resources, it would be difficult for our two-member team to record the events in great detail. However, I hope what the film has captured could contribute to the reflection and debate among those who support genuine democracy in Hong Kong.
Kwok Tat Chun
The impact of the Umbrella Movement is gradually fading away from our daily lives. Yet, the dramatic scenes still linger in my mind, some sad and some joyful. If I had not been involved in this film project, I wonder if I would still perceive the Umbrella Movement in the same way. To me, making documentaries is a process of communication and discovery. By talking and listening to activists, I learned about the complexity and dynamics of the movement, which made me more understanding and accommodating of the conflicts and indecisions. Documentary also means memory for the future. I have reached an age where I need to remember our own history. This film, I hope, will be a reminder of the burst of optimism in seventy-nine days of occupation, and also of the long road ahead to genuine democracy in Hong Kong.
Kong King Chu
Sunflower Occupation 18:30-（single screening）
YIDFF 2015 New Asian Currents Special Invitation Film
Dir: Sunflower Occupation Documentary Project / TAIWAN / 2014 / 120 min
On March 18, 2014, a group of students entered Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan calling for the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement to be retracted. The subsequent occupation of the legislative chamber unfolded over twenty-four days. A huge number of video recordings captured the debates among the occupiers and their life sleeping on the floor of the chamber, the demonstrations carried out by NGOs, students and their supporters, and their resistance to state violence. These actions are overlaid with scenes from the 520 Peasant Movement of 1988 and the Wild Lily student movement of 1990. This film, the work of numerous independent filmmakers, captures the occupation from a full range of perspectives; from the voices of students who took part despite opposition from their families, to various accusations made by researchers and police.
After the young generation stormed through the side door of the Legislative Yuan, it was as if the door to a bottomless black hole had been thrown open. The meaning of democracy was represented in the black hole. As a generation that enjoys a democratic system, when they realize democracy is being taken away from them, their solution is to claim it back. This film records the youth movement of the Sunflower Occupation and how these young activists re-examine the value of democracy and justice, a process that is full of sincere tears and laughter.
And so the documentary filmmakers picked up their cameras and begin to tell stories of the heroes in the “occupy” movement, to disclose their uneasy feelings when facing the crowd, and expose how small they felt in the face of democracy.
Sunflower Occupation Documentary Project
Sunflower Occupation is produced by the Taipei Documentary Filmmakers’ Union. It is the first independent filmmakers union in Taiwan officially founded in 2006, by documentary filmmakers. The union is dedicated to protecting the basic labor rights of documentary filmmakers and to improving the working standards of independent filmmakers. Based on this mission statement, the union remains committed to promoting the development of the documentary industry. Sunflower Occupation is the first collective project supported by the union. Led by the executive producers Ho Chao-ti and Tsai Tsung-lung, directors including Fu Yu, Wang Pei-fen, Chen Yu-ching, Tsai Chung-lung, Tsai Ching-ju, Huang Chao-hui, Li Chia-hua, Kevin H. J Lee and Chou Shi-lun all made segments of the final film. More than a hundred people were involved in this joint effort. The funding was raised mostly online, winning contributions from 3,154 supporters. It is the biggest collective documentary project in Taiwan’s history.
[Venue]The YAMAGATA Documentary Film Library (Yamagata Big Wing 3F)
[Admission]Free admission for members (Member’s fee: free)
[Presented by]YIDFF (NPO)
[Contact]e-mail：firstname.lastname@example.org (YIDFF Yamagata office)