Urban Nomad Film Fest is now in its 12th year and has established itself as Taiwan's main indie film event, producing an annual 10 day film festival, hosting international films and directors, sponsoring an annual competition for local short films, and producing music performances and arts events. In 2012, we produced or collaborated in 61 days of screenings, concerts, festivals, parties and exhibitions, drawing over 20,000 in total audience. We like to think of our audience members as ‘supporters’, ‘participants’ or even ‘friends’, not ‘customers’ or ‘consumers’. Our event style is inspired by punk rock and our focus is on culture, community and whatever is important in the world right now.
Urban Nomad has hosted numerous Taiwan premiers, including that of the Oscar-winning documentary THE COVE and award winning films from Sundance, Berlin, SXSW and other top festivals. We've been invited to create film programs for the Taipei Biennial (2008), the Scope Art Fair in Basel (2007), Scope Art Fair Miami (2007), Videotage Hong Kong (2008), Art Taipei (2009), Treasure Hill Artist Village (2010) and Taiwan Designers Week (the Urban Nomad x Design Cinema is now an annual event). We've also produced shows for bands and DJs including MAJOR LAZER, DIPLO, GUITAR WOLF, BOB LOG III, TRIPPPLE NIPPPLES, MOP OF HEAD, MIMIE-CHAN and others. In 2012, the festival held two film events and produced a DJ/VJ stage at the Daniel Pearl Day of Music, and film events were held in three cities, including our mothership festival at Huashan Arts District in Taipei and screenings at the National Museum of Fine Arts in Taichung and the Hsinchu Image Museum. Urban Nomad is mainly fan supported and the only major film event in Taiwan that does not receive government funding.
Event History: Text Only
In the Media
Urban Nomad Film Fest was founded in Taipei in 2002 by two expatriate journalists in Taiwan, David Frazier and Sean Scanlan, and is the only festival in Taiwan that is both fully independent and receives no government funding. The ongoing project is to create a community-oriented film environment and put an end to the impersonal ‘black box’ movie theater environment where hundreds of people can watch films without really interacting with each other.
We’ve held our five festivals to date in warehouse or outdoor spaces at Taipei’s Huashan Arts District (2002-2004, 2006), Treasure Hill (2005) and Taipei Artist Village (2007-present). We’ve specially curated film and video programs for art events, including the 2007 Scope Art Fairs in Basel and Miami, the 2008 Taipei Biennial, and Art Taipei 2009. We've also toured with our programs to the Hsinchu Image Museum, small cafes in eastern Taiwan, and Videotage in Hong Kong. Generally, our events have a strong social element (centered around the bar) and a DIY punk rock aesthetic.
Content has been socially motivated, growing with and out of digital and grassroots film movements: underground, alternative, digital, arthouse, DVcam, Flash, and web-based films. In 2005 we showed Martyn See’s Singapore Rebel, a banned film in Singapore about an opposition party candidate who is so sensitive there that after the a respected Western media outlet, the Far Eastern Economic Review, interviewed him, the issue was banned by Singapore’s government. But even though we showed this film and will continue to show films like it, we’re not advocating any political positions other than the right for people’s voices to be heard and for debates to take place. Most of our content is in fact light-hearted shorts, and has included everything from professionally produced comedies by Taiwan’s ArcLight production house to amateur skateboard and surf videos.
In 2005 and 2006, Urban Nomad began connecting with festivals and filmmakers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and China. This helped us realize that new film networks are happening, and what’s more, they have a lot in common with each other, a lot to share, and a lot they can teach each other. The idea is to think globally and act locally, to realize that kids from Malaysia, China, Europe or the US have a lot to say to Taiwanese kids and vice versa, even though the major networks connecting them now are pop music, Hollywood film, and big media. It doesn’t have to be that way, and that’s one area where we hope to make a difference.
Urban Nomad mainly funded by ticket sales. We remain independent and committed to our ideals.
- Festival Director, David Frazier