Thursday, December 25, 2014

2014 Closing Film: JALANAN director Daniel Ziv with the audience.
The 2014 Urban Nomad Taiwanese Short Film Awards concluded Sunday night, May 18, 2014. In all, this year's competition drew more than 300 submissions, including 66 submissions in a new category for Taiwanese Independent Music Videos. The festival featured eight programs of shorts, including 28 short films, 33 animated films and 10 music videos. Congratulations and thanks to all of the participating directors. From the story of how the black metal band Chthonic learned martial arts for their music video "Supreme Pain for the Tyrant" to John Hsu's parody of "micro-film" marketing campaigns in "The Great Escape from Cafe City", there were plenty of great moments. 

Jurors for the 2014 Urban Nomad Awards included indie singer (formerly signed to Sony Music Taiwan) Desserts Chang (張懸), Bark Magazine editor Guo Xin-xin (郭心芯), and film producer Roger Cheng (黃江豐).

2014 Big Nomad Prize winner Ella Raidel (center).

「大遊牧獎」The Big Nomad Prize

Prize: $20,000
Film: Cinema Isn't I See, It's I Fly
Directors: Ella Raidel (日得艾蘭)
Award presented by: Anjalika Wang (王耿瑜), chairperson of the Taiwan Original Filmmakers Union (TOFU) and David Frazier, Urban Nomad Festival Director
Film info: 2013 / Taiwan, Austria / 1 minute / no dialogue

Synopsis: An old man in a Taiwanese nightmarket stall watches a television, which shows a man skydiving. The depiction of this simple short scene quickly becomes a metaphor for cinema itself, and the liberation one can experience in the face of moving images.

Juror's Statement: Due to its Intense visual style and the poignant editing of the narrative, the film is very brief, but very hard to forget.

Jury Prize Winner Lee Yong-chao (left) and presenter Roger Huang.

「評審獎」Jury Prize

Prize: Film: 天堂日誌Heaven Diary
Directors: Lee Yong-chao (李永超)
Award presented by: Roger Huang, producer at Yi Tiao Long Hu Bao Production Company
Film info: 2013 / Taiwan / 6.5 minutes / Chinese
Juror's Statement: Filmed with a cell phone on a very low budget, this film is surprising and moving. The narration seems that it could be describing either the protagonist, or us, the viewer, in its descriptions of the frustrations of daily life.

Best Animation winner Zheng Xin-chang (right).

「城市遊牧動畫獎」Urban Nomad Animation Award

Prize: $10,000
Film: Plastic Girl 少女狂想
Director: Zheng Xin-chang 鄭信昌
Award presented by: Lu Wen-chung, Assistant Professor in the Animation Department at National Taipei University of the Arts
Film info: 2014 / Taiwan / 5 minutes / English / Chinese subtitles

Synopsis: A downtown shopping area features a vending machine selling real beauty. But what will be the true results?

Jurors' Statement: Plastic Girl is bravely and forcefully conceived. The plot flows easily, and this simple story conveys a unique sense of dark humor that draws the viewer in.

2014's Best Music Video went to the Murky Crows in a video directed by Lee Zhong-li.

「城市遊牧MV大獎」Urban Nomad Music Video Award

Prize: $10,000
Music Video: "Wrap Up My Heart and Eat it for Lunch, Baby" (打包我的心當午餐吧寶貝)
Band: Murky Crows
Director: Lee Zhong-li 李中立
Award presented by: David Frazier, Urban Nomad Festival Director
Film info: 2013 / Taiwan / 4.5 minutes / Chinese lyrics / English subtitles

Jurors' Statement: The black and white aesthetic seems simple, but is ulitmately the most difficult. Yet here it is handled adeptly and nothing is wasted, displaying a surprising level of talent. In four and a half minutes, this music video is able to create a new sensory world.

「觀眾票選獎」Audience Choice Award

Prize: $10,000
Film: Gu 
Directors: Huang Shi-ming (黃士銘) and Liu En-lin (劉恩霖)
Award presented by: Daniel Ziv, director of Jalanan
Film info: 2013 / Taiwan / 15 minutes / Chinese

Synopsis: A magical fable with dark edges, this is the story of a woman who uses a magical creature kept in a sac to find a husband.

Assessment: Audience choice ballots were handed out to every audience member in the programs for short films and animations, including more than 60 films in 7 programs. In the voting, GU was the clear winner for both great storytelling and professional calibre of animation -- no small feat in a 15-minute film!