When I first met Victoria Linchong in January 2010, she was busy travelling around Taiwan with her small video camera, doing interviews with Aborigines in Taitung and with former democracy activists in Taipei. She told me she was an actress from New York City, doing a documentary about her parents’ home – Taiwan.
Victoria calls „Almost Home: Taiwan“ a „documentary on Taiwan’s struggle for democracy“, but it is just as much about her own family. Born in the U.S., in 1986 she came to Taiwan with her father for the first time to attend a family funeral. She accompanied him again in 2008. Taiwan had changed a lot by then. This time, she took a video camera and recorded scenes of that very personal journey of discovery. The idea: turn it into a documentary.
„Almost Home: Taiwan“ is a feature-length documentary that examines the legacy of political repression and the emergence of Taiwanese identity and independence, through the reunion of a Taiwanese family after 22 years.
In the documentary, filmmaker Victoria Linchong returns to Taiwan with her family, searching for long-lost connections and becoming re-acquainted with the unique culture of the island and its wild beauty. Bridging the deeply personal and globally political, „Almost Home: Taiwan“ clarifies the controversies surrounding Taiwan, while introducing viewers to raucous night markets, aboriginal festivals, saint trees and kissing fish.
This is Victoria introducing the project herself:
One and a half years after she came to Taiwan once more for interviews and additional footage, Victoria has almost finished her film. Being a TV journalist, I know what it means to start out with nothing but an idea, but I can only try to imagine how much unpaid work (blood, sweat, tears…) one has to invest into a full-length project like this if there is no funding, no backing by TV stations or distributors, and only the vague hope to make it to the screens one day.
Right now, Victoria needs to collect US$3000 within the next 13 days to finish „Almost Home: Taiwan“ in time for the January elections, which will direct a lot of attention towards Taiwan. She is collecting donations, starting from US$20, via the crowdsourcing platform Indiegogo, which has a reputation for being trustworthy.
My goal is to finish this film by the end of the summer. With your help, I can hire an editor, a motion graphics animator and a translator for subtitles, as well as a researcher to license archival footage in Taiwan and America. This is a timely film on a controversial subject that has rarely been depicted with a critical perspective.
Every donator will be mentioned in the film’s credits. To see how many people have already donated, how much you have to give for a drink with the director, or for an associate producer credit, check out the project’s campaign site at Indiegogo.com.
I already saw a 30-minute rough cut, and it makes me look forward to the finished film. While there are some technical shortcomings, especially concerning the sound during the early self-filmed sequences, those can be fixed in post-production. I like Victoria’s approach to tell Taiwan’s complicated recent history through her own family’s story. She also managed to get her hands on some nice old newsreel footage and even Japanese propaganda from 1930’s Taiwan and weave it into the narrative.
And finally, she interviewed high-calibre democracy activists like Peng Ming-min and Linda Arrigo, legends for their involvement with the anti-autocratic movements of the 1960s and 1970s, respectively. (Peng’s „A Taste of Freedom“, a gripping account of life in a dictatorship and of Taiwan’s early post-war independence movement, is a must-read.)
I do not know if „Almost Home: Taiwan“ will bet he most polished documentary on Taiwan ever produced, but I believe that Taiwan needs more people telling this kind of stories if it wants to make the world aware of its democracy and the dangers it is facing. So it probably deserves all the suport it can get.
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