Challenge and Change: The History of Taiwanese Independent Documentary轉變與挑戰:臺灣的獨立製作紀錄片

2022 Spotlight Taiwan Lecture

Pin-Chuan Chen: Challenge and Change: The History of Taiwanese Independent Documentary


In 2004, Gift of Life (生命), a Taiwanese independent documentary about the aftermath of a severe earthquake that hit central Taiwan in 1999, was released in cinemas. It broke the Taiwanese film box office record for domestic feature-length films, achieving the number one slot in the domestic market that year. At that time, Taiwan’s film industry was in decline, so the compelling achievement of Gift of Life propelled independent documentary production into public consciousness. This was a real turning point in the development of independent documentary production in Taiwan and gave a “kick start” to film industry in the Post-Taiwan New Cinema era.

The independent documentary-making became a popular phenomenon in the past twenty years in Taiwan, therefore, the history of independent documentary has become a worthwhile issue, and connected to the issue of how Taiwanese documentary engages with the unique social and political circumstances in Taiwan.

About the Speaker

Dr. Chen, Pin-Chuan  ( 陳斌全 )

Former Director of the Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute (TFAI, formerly known as the Taiwan Film Institute; TFI) and academic scholar specialising in Taiwanese documentary and film archive. Pin-Chuan received his PhD in Film Studies from King’s College London in 2014. He was Assistant Professor at Chaoyang University of Technology (Taichung, Taiwan) where he teaches film and documentary-making, as well as film theory. One of his research interests is focusing on the use of film / documentary-making as a method of social engagement. In addition to fifteen years’ experience in higher education, Pin-Chuan was appointed Director of the TFI between 2016 and 2019, where he dedicated his time to film preservation and restoration. Currently, he is the Director of the Cultural Division at the Taipei Representative Office in the UK, where he is responsible for organising cultural exchanges and promoting Taiwan’s film heritage to a global audience.


Selected Research Projects

重建臺灣影視聽史論敘計畫 (The Project of Reconstructing the History of Taiwan Film and Audiovisual),Taiwan Film Institute (2018~2019)

國家電影資產保存計畫 (The Project of Preservation and Promotion of National Film Heritage) ,Taiwan Film Institute (2016~2019)

臺灣經典電影數位化與加值應用計畫 (Digital Restoration and Adding-Value Project of Taiwan Classical Films) ,Taiwan Film Institute (2017~2019)


Selected Publications

Amateur Filmmaking from the  Locals: the Community Documentary in Taiwan in International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) , 2022 Congress Symposium, Budapest (2022)

The Characteristics of the Film Directors After the Taiwan New Cinema Era in Roundtable: Taiwan Post-New Wave Cinema at Centre of Taiwan Studies, SOAS (2020)

《1990 年代中期至 2000 年中期臺灣獨立紀錄片歴史發展之特徵(The Characteristics of Taiwanese Indepednent Documentary in Mid-1990s to Mid-2000s)》章節,〈推進電影研究:異雜與求精Cinema Study: Hybrid and Precision) 〉主編/劉永晧,(臺北市:恆河出版社,2022)

紀錄片〈刪海經〉電影教育(Film Education Book: The Documentary “The Lost Sea” )專書/作者,(臺北市:富邦文教基金會 ,2019)

英國文化創意產業的秘密 (The Secret of the UK Creative Industry) / 合著,(臺北市:行政院文化建設委員會,2003)