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    Taiwanese Film Festival Seeks to Link Two Cultures Together

    The collapse of the Qing Dynasty began with the Wuchang Uprising on Oct. 10, 1911 and ended with the defeat of imperial rule in China, thus establishing Asia’s first republic.

    Now, Oct. 10 is called “Double Ten Day” because the Republic of China, more commonly known today as Taiwan, formed on the tenth day of the tenth month of 1911 and Stony Brook University is honoring the celebration with a film festival.

    In celebration of the 97th anniversary of Double Ten Day, the major national holiday in Taiwan, a Taiwanese film festival began to showcase films in the month of October at Stony Brook University’s Charles B. Wang Center to provide a bridge between two cultures. Co-sponsored by the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in New York and the Taiwanese American Association on Long Island(TAALI), the festival — which screened its first film on Oct. 1– will screen two more Taiwanese films in the fall 2008 semester. “We have had other film series, but this is the first time we are doing Taiwan,” said Sunita Mukhi, director of Asian and Asian American programs at the Wang Center. A myriad of cultural film series from previous semesters has been showcased, including a series of three Aboriginal Australian films in fall 2007, and a series of two Japanese films in fall 2006, before the Taiwanese film series this semester.

    The first film, previously shown on Oct. 1, is called Three Times, which featured three tales of romance during three different years in Taiwan using the same two actors.

    The second film, which will be shown on Oct. 29, is called The Shoe Fairy, a paradoxical fairytale about a girl named Dodo who is unable to walk yet, at the same time, is obsessed with shoes.

    The third film, which will be shown on Nov. 5, is called Chocolate Rap, a new take on an old martial arts film where breakdancing replaces kung fu. It follows the story of Chocko, a boy with a bright breakdancing future, who gets into a car accident, and must regain his confidence in breakdancing.

    “The films are about teenagers in Taiwan,” said Carol Li, executive press officer of TECO. “We hope this will help introduce American teenagers to the culture of Taiwanese young people. We also hope that after seeing these films, American students will be inspired to learn more about Taiwanese culture, history, and film.”

    The Press Division of TECO in New York is one of more than 50 overseas offices of the Government Information of Taiwan. It promotes Taiwanese culture through publications, audio-visual materials, and the Internet.

    “With English subtitles, American moviegoers would be able to understand more closely than simply the facial expressions from the actors and actresses,” said Jerry Chen, president of TAALI. “Before and after the showing of the films, all moviegoers, American and Taiwanese, can discuss the themes, plots, and all aspects of the movie. The Taiwanese Film Festival is a great opportunity to gather people in celebrating the beauty of culture exchange.”

    TAALI is a non-profit organization incorporated in 2006 that was formed in 1975 by Stony Brook University Taiwanese students under the name of The Taiwanese Organization of Stony Brook. Because demographics shifted in the 90’s, they matured into TAALI. One of TAALI’s purposes is to educate young Taiwanese Americans and the general public about Taiwanese heritage and culture through workshops, seminars, and large cultural events.

    “Film is a very good messenger,” said Wei Hu, 23, a second-year computer science graduate student. “Through it, we can watch a new style. We can watch a new culture. So, I believe that because of the film festival, Americans can understand the Taiwanese culture, or even bigger, the Asian culture.”

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