Taiwan's main film festival will introduce crowd pleasers alongside award-winning art house titles from the Berlin, Cannes and Venice film festivals under new programming director Patrick Jia, formerly a senior marketing publicist at the Taipei branch of 20th Century Fox.
The event opens on November 6 with Chung Meng-hung's local black comedy Parking, which premiered at Cannes, and closes on November21 with Cedric Klapisch's Paris and another Taiwan film, Yang Li-chou's documentary Beyond The Arctic.
The festival includes major tributes to Japanese director Kon Ichikawa, Russian animator Aleksandr Petrov and French filmmaker Jean-Pierre Melville. The latter includes the world premiere of Olivier Bohler's documentary Code Name: Melville.
Documentaries are one of the highlights of the festival with screenings of Martin Scorsese's Shine A Light, James Marsh's Man On Wire and Alex Gibney's Taxi To The Dark Side about human rights abuses under the Bush administration.
For the second year in a row, the festival has a special focus on south-east Asian cinema. This year's section opens with a red carpet screening of Nonzee Nimibutr's epic Queens Of Langkasuka to be attended by the director and leading actor Ananda Everingham.
Other stars in attendance include Taiwan's Kelly Lin for a gala screening of Johnnie To's Sparrow , Japan's Yasuko Matsuyuki for the international premiere of Jiro Shono's Time Lost, Time Found and Hollywood-based Michelle Krusiec for Asif Kapadia's Far North.
While the festival embraces Hollywood cinema, Jia stresses that the lineup is not studio-centric. He argues that the ordinary characters in American independent cinema have a strong appeal to Taiwan audiences, noting the local success of Jason Reitman's Juno.
The festival also hosts a special anniversary screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Stanley Kubrick's epic was released in a single theatre in Taipei in 1969 and local audiences have had no opportunity to see the film on the big screen in the intervening decades.
The 45th edition of the affiliated Golden Horse Film Awards will be held in the city of Taichung on December 6. The nominations for the prestigious annual awards for Chinese-language cinema will be announced on October 30.