Taiwanese drama took to the stage of Series Mania for the first time when The Amazing Grace Of Σ, Who Killed The Good Man and Fragrance Of The First Flower premiered at the French TV festival and industry event last year.

A virtual pavilion was set up by Taiwan Creative Content Agency (TAICCA), showcasing to European markets the latest content from the Asian country and paving the way for international collaborations. A spotlight on Taiwanese drama series and co-production incentives was also organised jointly by TAICCA and Series Mania, during which high-profile new series Twisted Strings was unveiled.

Executive produced by The Assassin director Hou Hsiao-Hsien, Twisted Strings is an anthology show written and directed by up-and-coming director Huang Xi (Missing Johnny) and starring award-winning actor Lee Kang-Sheng (Stray Dogs). HBO Asia and Catchplay will both premiere the series in late March.

Developing talent

Building on last year’s success, TAICCA continues to strengthen its relationship with Series Mania, the biggest television festival in Europe. This year will see a high-level delegation heading to Lille, France, one of the first physical trips by TAICCA since the start of the pandemic.

“As our strategic alliance partner in Europe, Series Mania will help connect our delegation with key French and international buyers,” says TAICCA CEO Izero Lee. “We are also working together on a year-round talent development programme and are looking into the possibilities of international co‑productions.

“We hope this official exchange will enhance our strategic resources and create unique opportunities as we enter the European markets,” he adds.

The circumstances of the past two years have accelerated the growth of global streaming platforms, with audiences consuming more content at home. The surge in demand has created significant opportunities for Taiwan’s content industry.

'Gold Leaf'

Source: Taiwan Public Television Service Foundation

‘Gold Leaf’

The territory boasts a long history of film and TV production and has in recent years successfully established itself as a key production hub of high-end Mandarin-language drama series. Light The Night, Rainless Love In A Godless Land, The Making Of An Ordinary Woman 2 and Gold Leaf are among the recent high-profile Taiwanese drama series that have been watched by global audiences through international OTT platforms such as Netflix, iQiyi and Catchplay.

TAICCA also plays a key role in driving the development of the Taiwanese drama series industry. In November 2020, two new events were launched: a drama series section was created as an extension of the Golden Horse Film Project Promotion (FPP), the long-established film project market; while the Taiwan Creative Content Fest (TCCF) included pitching and showcase sessions that invited more than 770 local and international buyers and investors to attend. The latter event featured The Amazing Grace Of Σ, then in pre-production, where it caught the eye of Series Mania.

Following the world premiere of its first two episodes at Series Mania last August, The Amazing Grace Of Σmade its way home to local audiences two months later at Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival. CJ ENM HK has since boarded the project as a co‑producing partner and handles international sales.

Inspired by real events, the crime thriller follows a pop star whose manager dies by suicide. The performer finds solace among a group of people known to his manager, only to become embroiled in a cult that manipulates vulnerable souls. The main cast includes Yao Chun-Yao, Aaron Yan, Samantha Ko and Tanivu Yatauyungana. The 10-part drama is produced by Rosebud Production, with Stanley Hsu and Sarso Chou as producers. It is in post-production and set for release later this year.

The Amazing Grace Of Σ had received production funding from the Ministry of Culture at an early stage. The series’ creator Wu Lo-Ying, who is also the director and screenwriter, is a veteran theatre director and has writing credits of more than 300 hours of drama series.

Her co-director Ray Jiang most recently directed gangster film Gatao: The Last Stray, which was a Chinese New Year box-office hit in Taiwan in 2021. Both Wu and Jiang are winners of Taiwan’s prestigious Golden Bell Awards for TV productions, with the former winning the best screenplay prize in 2009 for Black & White and the latter taking best director in 2018 for Age Of Rebellion.

Contact Erica Lin / en.taicca.tw