NIU Han is named one of the 14 filmmakers who’ll participate in this year’s Golden Horse Film Academy in Taiwan. The Academy was established seven years ago by then Golden Horse Film Festival Chair HOU Hsiao-Hsien. The Academy’s selection criteria include the ability to speak Mandarin, since part of the reason it was established was to offer opportunities for Chinese-language speaking filmmakers to develop their skills in a culturally-sympathetic environment.
NIU is this year’s only participant who resides outside of Asia. He’s presently in post on his feature Land of Nobody, “a surreal fairytale of complex parallel worlds”. His acceptance into the Academy is on the strength of his previous short Melancholia 1 and experience on John Woo’s two-part Red Cliff (which did some post work in Wellington) and Tsui Hark’s 2011 The Flying Swords of Dragon Gate. NIU also co-wrote Alyx Duncan’s The Red House.
Early this month he was also named as one of the finalists for the Venice Biennale College-Cinema. NIU will travel to Venice ahead of this time in Taipei. If his Venice project is successful, he;ll return to Italy and receive support to complete his feature, which will be guaranteed selection for the 2016 Bienniale.
In Taipei, the Golden Horse Film Academy will be led by HOU Hsiao-Hsien, Best Director at Cannes in May for The Assassin, which is now doing the festival rounds including the NZIFF. HOU’s producer on The Assassin, LIAO Ching-Song, is among the mentors for the Academy programme, which offers places to directors and cinematographers. NIU joins the directing programme.
Although less than a decade old, the Academy’s alumni include several filmmakers well-regarded in Asia and beyond. The best-known internationally is probably Anthony Chen, whose 2013 Ilo Ilo was a major success on the international festival circuit after its Camera d’Or win in Cannes.
NIU Han’s Land of Nobdy
The Academy runs 23 October – 21 November, and produces two short films which will screen as part of the Golden Horse Film Festival, ahead of the festival’s awards. The Golden Horse Film Festival runs 5 – 26 November, with the Awards (widely regarded as Asia’s most prestigious film awards) presented 21 November. Nominees for this years Golden Horse Awards are due to be announced later this week.