Black & White has colourful ambitions for Taiwan cinema
By Stephen Cremin
Fri, 05 March 2010, 17:12 PM (HKT)
Although details are not yet finalised, the upcoming movie prequel to hit television series Black & White Episode I: The Dawn of Assault 痞子英雄首部曲：全面開戰 could trigger a series of innovations in Taiwan's film industry.
According to statements made by director TSAI Yueh-hsun 蔡岳勳 this week, these potentially include 3-D production, the creation of a dedicated film studio and even the construction of a tie-in theme park.
Award-winning television director Tsai announced his intention of building a film studio and theme park in Kaohsiung (高雄), Taiwan's second city, in a newspaper interview published on Tuesday.
Kaohsiung City's mayor, Chen Chu (陳菊), has since lent his support without promising any government cash. The proposed studio and theme park would cost more than $150 million (NT$5 billion) and take at least five years to construct.
An ongoing obstacle facing the growth of the local film industry is a lack of studio facilities, especially as the government moves to sell off land and properties that have been used by producers as impromptu studios.
Tsai plans to begin shooting the movie prequel to Black & White in late June. While casting details have yet to be announced, Tsai confirmed that idol Vic CHOU 周渝民 would not be in the movie due to prior commitments.
Chou is one of the two central characters in the series, a police detective whose methods are at odds with another cop played by Mark CHAO 趙又廷, who recently made his movie debut as a young gangster in box office hit Monga 艋舺 (2010).
Tsai also announced that he is considering shooting at least part of the movie in 3-D, although no decision has been made at this stage. He plans to open the $4.7m film in Taiwan in early 2011 during Chinese New Year.
Tsai has become a favourite son of the southern port city after relocating his cop drama series Black & White there when he was unable to shoot a key action sequence in Taipei's rapid transport system.
18 films and TV series have been shot in Kaohsiung — until recently seen as a cultural backwater — including Leon DAI 戴立忍's No puedo vivir sin ti 不能沒有你 (2008), CHENG Wen-tang 鄭文堂's Tears 眼淚 (2009) and KUO Chen-ti 郭珍弟's (郭珍弟) Step by Step 練・戀・舞 (2008).
After Black & White turned Kaohsiung landmarks into major tourist attractions, Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) increased his support for shoots in the capital, instructed government entities to be more cooperative with filmmakers.
The Taipei Film Commission 臺北市電影委員會, which was founded in January 2008, subsidised 16 films last year and assisted 124 shoots in total.
It's growing significance could be seen at this year's Berlin International Film Festival where the three Taiwan films screening received funding; One Day 有一天 (2009) with $63,000 (NT$2m), Au revoir Taipei 一頁台北 (2009) with $110,000 (NT$3.5m) and Monga with $125,000 (NT$4m).
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