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Wei premieres first short film, 'The Spirit'

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Popular filmmaker Wei Te-sheng (魏德聖) yesterday attended the premiere of his 15-minute film “The Spirit” (18 歲的勇氣) at Huashan 1914 Creative Park in Taipei.

Shot on the outlying island county of Kinmen, “The Spirit” will be publicly released today at 9 p.m. on TV and over the Internet. Made in collaboration with director Lien Yi-chi (連奕琦), best known for his film “Make Up,” “The Spirit” is about a music teacher returning from New York who helps a female student regain courage after failing college entrance exams.

Actor Shin described the film as a work that “moves the heart and helps you find your passion again.”

“I felt really strong for the movie after watching it, especially after seeing how these directors worked.”

Wei said that the film aims to promote Kinmen and give its famous Kaoliang liquor a more youthful image.

“We wanted to use courage and youth as the themes for the entire movie, and combine that with the distinctive liquor to promote Kinmen,” Wei said.

In an effort to boost Kinmen's image as an ideal filming location and to promote its tourist attractions, Kinmen County Magistrate Li Wo-shih and Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor Inc. Chairman Li Wen-hsuan also joined the premiere.

Li lauded Wei's keen eye in developing the county's picturesque spots as filming locations, and expressed hope that Kinmen would continue to lure more filmmakers.

Leading actress Peijia Huang commented that although it was her first time in Kinmen, it was a simple, pleasant place that was very quiet.

Wei said that the biggest challenge in shooting the movie was trying to condense the entire story into 15 minutes.

Known for long features such as “Seediq Bale,” which was divided into two parts, Wei was asked about how he dealt with such a time constraint.

“It was difficult to select which parts to keep in the film and which to cut, but most of the essential parts went in,” he said with a laugh.

Wei added that it was nice that, thanks to government funding for the film, he didn't have to worry about its financing.

“I didn't need to worry too much — just take care of the film.”

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From left, director Wei Tei-sheng, actors Peijia Huang and Shin, and director Lien Yi-chi, pose in front of a poster for “The Spirit” at the premiere of the short film in Taipei, yesterday. “The Spirit” will be publicly released on TV and over the Internet at 9 p.m. this evening. (Wang Chien-yu, The China Post)

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