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5/2/2015

Taiwan Today - The Legacy of Pi

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5/2/2015

TheLegacyofPi

Weather Keyword TR文章資料 5/2/2015 TheLegacyofPi AngLee,right,talksaboutthe experienceofmaking LifeofPi ata

AngLee,right,talksaboutthe experienceofmakingLifeofPiata pressconferenceinTaipeiin

November2012,whileleadactor

SurajSharma,secondleft,lookson.

(PhotobyCentralNewsAgency)

PublicationDate03/01/2013 By OSCARCHUNG

PublicationDate : 03/01/2013 By OSCARCHUNG Subscription

ByshootingmuchofhislatesthitinTaichung,AngLeehasgivenTaiwan’smovieindustrya

majorboost.

LifeofPibyTaiwanesedirectorAngLee()haswonapplausefromreviewers;earneda LondonCritics’CircleAwardfordirectoroftheyear,aGoldenGlobeAwardforbestoriginal

scoreand11Oscarnominations,includingthoseforbestpictureandbestdirector;andhad

raked in about US$500 million worldwide by the end of January this year. Of course, accoladesfromfilmcriticsandaudiencestheworldoverarenothingnewforLee,whohas

drawnattentionsincehisfirstmovie,PushingHands,wasreleasedin1991.WithLifeofPi,

his12thandhighest­grossingfeaturefilm,however,theOscar­winningdirectorhasnotonly

givenpeopleinhishomelandsomethingtobeproudof,butalsoleftasubstantiallegacythat

isexpectedtobenefitTaiwan’sfilmindustry.

AccordingtoJeanShih(),director­generaloftheTaichungCityGovernment’sInformationBureau,Leechosetomake themovieinTaichung,centralTaiwanoverotherlocationsinIndiaandAustralia.SomeofthefilmingstilltookplaceinIndia, whichisunderstandable,asLifeofPitellsthestoryofanIndianboywhoescapesfromasinkingshiponlytofindhimself sharingalifeboatwithanirascibletiger.Themajorityofthemovie,however,wasshotinTaichung,aswellasinTaipeiand Pingtungatthenation’ssoutherntip.

TaichungmadeaconcertedefforttoattractLeeandhisfilmcrew.AccordingtoShih,TaichungMayorJasonHu()isan oldfriendofthedirector’sandpersonallyinvitedLeetomakethemovieinthecity.Aspartoftheoffer,Hupromisedextensive support,includingtheprovisionofspacious,decommissionedShuinanAirportnearthecity’scentertohousethesetsforthe film,Shihsays.

film,Shihsays. Themajorityofthescenesin LifeofPi

ThemajorityofthescenesinLifeofPiwerefilmedinTaichung,centralTaiwan.TheshootingoftheHollywoodhitinTaiwanhas

hadasignificantimpactonthelocalmovieindustry.(PhotoCourtesyofFrancisLee)

Hu oversaw efforts to raise funds for fact­finding trips by Lee’s American film crew to assess Taichung’s moviemaking

environmentinthefirsthalfof2010.Thecitygovernmentthenjoinedforceswiththecentralgovernmenttoofferthedirector

subsidiesofmorethanNT$300million(US$9.5million)tofilmthemovieinTaichung.

Thecity’scourtshipofLeeisoneofthemostvisiblerecenteffortstoencouragefilmproductioninTaiwan.Thefirstsustained push by a local government to attract filmmakers came in Kaohsiung City, southern Taiwan in late 2004 when the city

establishedtheKaohsiungFilmCommission.In2010,thecommissionwasrenamedtheFilmDevelopmentandProduction

Centerandtookontheresponsibilitiesofformulatingfilm­relatedpoliciesandprovidingservicesrangingfromlocationscouting

toequipmentstorage.

TaipeiCity,wheremorethan95percentofTaiwan’sTVandfilmproductioncompaniesarebased,establishedtheTaipeiFilm

Commissionattheendof2007asasinglewindowthroughwhichfilmmakerscanapplytoreceiveadministrativeandfinancial

support.AnothermajorstepcameinNovember2012,whentheTaipeiCityGovernmentannouncedplanstobuildfilmand

musicproductionfacilitiesinthreelocationsaroundthecity.Constructionofthefirstofthosefacilitiesisexpectedtobegininthe

springof2014attheearliestinarezonedareaofNeihuDistrictinthenortheastpartofthecity.

According to the Bureau of Audiovisual and Music Industry Development under the Ministry of Culture, nine other local governmentsinTaiwanhavejoinedKaohsiungandTaipeiinestablishingfilmpromotionoffices.Themostrecenttodosois

ChiayiCityinsouthernTaiwan,whichopenedafilmofficeinJune2011.

5/2/2015

Taiwan Today - The Legacy of Pi

Around250TaiwanesetechniciansandartistsworkedwithAngLee’sAmericanfilmcrewduringproductionof LifeofPi .(Photo

Around250TaiwanesetechniciansandartistsworkedwithAngLee’sAmericanfilmcrewduringproductionofLifeofPi.(Photo

CourtesyofTwentiethCenturyFoxFilmCorp.)

ToshootLifeofPi,LeeusedamixedteamthatbroughtmembersofhisHollywood­basedfilmcrewtogetherwithlocalmovie technicians.TheworkethicoftheUScrewmembershadamemorableeffectontheirTaiwanesecounterparts.“Theattitudeof theHollywoodprofessionalstowardtheirworkwaswhatimpressedandinspiredmethemost,”saysFrancisLee(),who wasresponsibleforcontrollinglife­sizeanimalpuppetsinthemovie.“Theysetupclearrulesforeveryaspectoffilmingand overlooked no detail.” Francis Lee is founder and operator of Fantastic Creative Studio in Taichung and was hired by Los Angeles­basedLegacyEffectstoworkonLifeofPi.Legacy’spreviousworkincludescreatinglive­actioneffectsforHollywood

hitslike2012andAvatar.

Top­QualityWork

FrancisLeenotesthattheTaiwanesecrewmembersweredeterminedtodoonlytop­qualityworkonLifeofPibecausetheydid not want to be seen as a disappointment to Ang Lee or to Taiwan. “Everybody felt great pressure to do their best during shooting,”FrancisLeesays.

MoriHsueh()isgeneralmanagerofTaichung­basedBabylonPoolSystemsCo.,whichbuiltthelargewavepoolusedto createthemainsetforthemovie.“Thedirectorsaidhehoped[theTaiwanesecrew]wouldachievewhatwasexpectedofus, andhesaidhehopedthatthedeepinvolvementofTaiwan’smovieprofessionalsinLifeofPiwouldhelpourmovieindustry

makesomeprogress,”HsuehrecallsofconversationsAngLeehadwithsomeofthe250­pluslocalcrewmembers.

Oscar­winningR&HStudios,creatorofthevisualeffectsin

Oscar­winningR&HStudios,creatorofthevisualeffectsinLifeofPi,decidedtoestablishitssixthstudioinKaohsiung,southern

TaiwaninNovember2012.(PhotoCourtesyofTwentiethCenturyFoxFilmCorp.)

ThewavepoolBabylonconstructedisexpectedtoattractmorefilmmakerstoTaichunginthefuture.AccordingtoHsueh,the

Shuinanfacilityistheworld’slargestwave­makingpoolandfeatures12machinesthatcancreatevariouskindsofwaves.Since

thecompletionofworkonLifeofPi,theTaichungCityGovernmenthasmanagedthepool.Shihsaysthatseveralforeignfilm

projectshavealreadyshowninterestinrentingthefacility.Thecitygovernmentplanstocommissionashortdocumentaryto

promotethepoolandscreenitatmajorinternationalfilmfestivals.

Infact,thepoolisplayingastarringroleinTaichung’ssimultaneouseffortstoboostthelocalmovieindustryandredevelopthe

areaoccupiedbythedefunctairport.Shuinan’sdaysasanactiveairportendedin2004withtheinaugurationofcivilianflightsat

TaichungAirportinthecity’snorthwesternsuburbs.Thefirstredevelopmentplanfortheoldairportwasreleasedin2008andthe

area was rechristened the Taichung Gateway District in 2010. On Shih’s strong recommendation, in April 2011 the

redevelopmentschemewasmodifiedtoincludea4.5­hectarebusinessparkforthemovieindustry.Plansfortheparkinclude

thewavepool,astate­of­the­artfilmstudio,accommodationsforfilmcrewsandascreeningfacilitythatwillbeopentothe public.TheCabinet­levelCouncilforEconomicPlanningandDevelopmentiscurrentlyconductingastudyonthefeasibilityof

thepark,whichhasanestimatedconstructioncostofNT$1.2billion(US$40million).

ManyeffectsinLifeofPiwerecreatedwithcomputer­generatedimagery(CGI),includingthefrighteninglytrue­to­lifetiger.To producesuchphoto­realisticimagery,AngLeeworkedcloselywithUS­basedRhythm&Hues(R&H)Studios,producersofCGI animationandvisualeffectsformoviessuchasBabeandTheGoldenCompass,forwhichitwonAcademyAwardsforbest

visualeffectsin1995and2008respectively.R&HworkedontwomoviesthatreceivedOscarnominationsforbestspecial

effectsthisyear:LifeofPiandSnowWhiteandtheHuntsman.InTaiwan,meanwhile,AngLee’scollaborationwithR&Hhas

resultedinatleastthreeknock­onbenefitsforTaiwan’smovieindustry.

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Taiwan Today - The Legacy of Pi

TaichungCityMayorJasonHu,secondright,andAngLee,right,touroneofthecity’snightmarketsduringtheshootingof Life ofPi

TaichungCityMayorJasonHu,secondright,andAngLee,right,touroneofthecity’snightmarketsduringtheshootingofLife

ofPi.AtleftisJeanShih,director­generalofthecity’sInformationBureau.(PhotoCourtesyofTaichungCityGovernment)

First,throughAngLee,R&Hwasintroducedtogovernmentofficialsresponsibleforeconomicandindustrialdevelopmentfrom

theMinistryofEconomicAffairsandKaohsiungCityGovernment.Insummer2011,afterrepresentativesoftheUSstudiotooka

fact­findingtriptothesoutherncity,thecompanybegandevelopingastronginterestinestablishingapresencethere.Inearly

November2012,theAmericancompanydecidedtosetuptheVFXCenter—awhollyownedsubsidiarystudiodedicatedto

producing CGI animation and visual effects for moviemakers worldwide—in the city’s Pier­2 Art Center. R&H cited Pier­2’s ambienceandthepotentialtalentresourcesinartanddesignprogramsatcollegesinsouthernTaiwanasthemostimportant factorsbehinditsdecisiontolaunchtheVFXCenterinKaohsiung.Infact,someoftheTaiwanesegraphicartistswhotookpart intheproductionofLifeofPihavebeenrecruitedbythenewlyfoundedstudio.TheVFXCenterisR&H’ssixthstudioworldwide

andisexpectedtoemployaround200localeffectsartistswithinthreeyears.

AsR&HcreatedmoreCGIeffectsandscenesforLifeofPi,theneedtostoreandaccessthedigitalfootageledtoasecond majorbenefit.“R&HapproachedusviaAngLeeinthehopeofusingdomesticcomputinginfrastructuretohandlethespecial visualeffectsdatageneratedforthemovie,”recallsLiangKuan­hsiung()—managingdirectoroftheCloudComputing Lab under the Telecommunication Laboratories of Chunghwa Telecom Co. (CHT)—of the first contact with the American

companyinlate2010.TherelationshipbetweenR&HandTaiwan’sleadingtelecommunicationscompanysoonresultedintheir

promotionofthedevelopmentofacloud­basedplatformfortheinternationalvisualeffectsmarket.

TowardtheendofNovember2012,afterLifeofPihaditsworldwidepremiereinTaiwan,thejointventureconcepttookamajor

stepforwardwhenR&HandCHTsignedamemorandumofunderstandingtoestablishaTaiwan­basedprojectcalledCloudfor

AnimationandVisualEffects(CAVE).AccordingtoLiang,CAVEwillallowforeasycontentstorageandretrieval,aswellas

provideacloud­basedsoftwareplatformforcontentcreation.CAVEwillstartoutbyhandlingR&H’srenderingjobs,buthasthe

eventualgoalsofdeliveringCAVEservicesandon­demandcloudinfrastructuretofilmmakersworldwide.

FrancisLee,whocontrolledmanyofthelife­sizeanimalpuppetsin

FrancisLee,whocontrolledmanyofthelife­sizeanimalpuppetsinLifeofPi,sayshewasimpressedbytheworkethicofhis

Americanpeers.(PhotoCourtesyofFrancisLee)

Asforthethirdbenefit,inlate2011R&HanditsTaiwanesepartnersagreedtolaunchaprojectaimedatco­financingandco­

producingmajorHollywoodmovies.TheventureisnamedEastGrandFilmsandhasthegoalofraisingUS$100millionfor

investmentinHollywoodmoviesfeaturingspecialvisualeffectsandcomputeranimation.EastGrandaimstoinvestin10films

overthenext sixyears. Sofar, thecompanyhasreceivedUS$20millionininvestment fromR&HandUS$21millionfrom Taiwan’sNationalDevelopmentFund,whichoperatesundertheExecutiveYuan,withtheremainderexpectedtocomefrom Taiwan’scorporatesector.

Noteveryoneisconvincedthatgovernmentspendingtoattractorfundtheinternationalmovieindustrywillevergeneratereturns fortaxpayers,however.CriticsofthesubsidiesgiventothemakersofLifeofPi,forexample,havesaidthatfilmingthemoviein Taichungdidnothelppromotethecity’stourismindustry,asallscenesshotinthecitytookplaceonelaboratesetsattheold airport,notatanyrecognizablelocationsinthearea.Shihrespondstosuchconcernsbynotingthatthemoviehasbenefitedthe city’s tourism sector in other ways. When Life of Pi was being filmed in Taichung in the first half of 2011, more than 300

foreignersandlocalsinvolvedintheshootingcombinedtoboosttheoccupancyrateofhotelsinTaichungby10percent,the

TaichungHotelAssociationsays.

OthercriticshaveassertedthatLifeofPiislikelytoremainanexceptionalcase,givenAngLee’sobviouslinkstoTaiwan, whereasonlyaminutenumberoffeature­lengthmoviesaremadeinTaiwanbyotherinternationalproductioncompanies.In 2012, for example, the Taipei Film Commission gave administrative support or counsel to a total of 464 film crews, the overwhelmingmajorityofwhichwerepurelylocalteamsshootingcommercials,movies,musicvideosortelevisiondramas.A JapanesecrewthatshotscenesatrailwaystationsinsouthernTaiwanforamoviestarringfamousactressNanakoMatsushima wastheonlyforeignteamworkingonafeature­lengthfilmtovisitTaiwanlastyear,thecommissionsays.

5/2/2015

Taiwan Today - The Legacy of Pi

At75meterslongand30meterswide,thewave­makingpoolconstructedfor LifeofPi inTaichungisthelargestofitskind

At75meterslongand30meterswide,thewave­makingpoolconstructedforLifeofPiinTaichungisthelargestofitskind

worldwide.(PhotoCourtesyofTaichungCityGovernment)

RichResources

ThosewhoworkedonLifeofPi,however,saythatmakingthemovieinTaiwanhasincreasedinternationalawarenessofthe

richresourcesthecountryoffersfilmmakers.“Peoplegivemeathumbs­upwhenItellthemIworkedonAngLee’sfilmcrew,”

FrancisLeesays.“Ofcourse,thentheygetsuspiciousthatmystudiomightnowchargeahigherfeeforprojects,”hesays

humorously,butaddsthatsomeclientshavedecidedtoworkwithhisstudiopreciselybecausehewaspartoftheLifeofPi

productionteam.

ThelegaciesAngLeeleftbyfilminghisrecentmasterpieceinTaiwanrangefromtheintangible,suchastheexperiencelocal

techniciansgainedbyworkingwithHollywood’sbest,totheverytangibleestablishmentoftheVFXCenterinKaohsiung.Asthe

resultofAngLee’sefforttogivesomethingbacktohishomeland,Taiwan’smovieindustrylookssettocontinuedevelopingfor

yearstocome.

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