Millets Back Home

- TAIWAN / 2013 / Chinese, Tayal / Color / Blu-ray / 72 min

Director, Photography: Sayun Simung
Editing: Hsiao Shu-ni
Additional Photography: Karo Sifu, Huang Shih-chieh
Music: Magaitan
Art Design: Yang Chun-chun
Source: Huang Yi-chih

In a remote ethnic Tayal village nestled in the mountains of Taichung, an old woman is still growing millet. A man who collects trash also raises fruit trees. His son has graduated from middle school but in order to proceed to high school he moves to live alone in the city. One middle-aged woman who works in an adult day-care center was formerly unable to speak the Tayal language but she eagerly absorbs as much of it as she can. Focusing on three families, this film is both a vivid portrayal of the villagers’ way of life as they try to preserve their disappearing traditions, and a testament to the director’s respect for her village, and her people.

[Director’s Statement] This is a story about family. I often ask myself: “While our generation of Native youth are still eager to catch up with learning from the elderly people, they also lose themselves at the same time, do they?”

Based on this idea, I’ve become an independent producer since I returned home, hoping that I could present the Tayal culture from the viewpoint of the family, which is impacted by the mainstream of society. The indigenous villages are a microcosm of the plight of traditional farming and culture in Taiwan.

- Sayun Simung

Born in 1982, as a Tayal person in the Huanshan Tribe, Sayun Simung is from Hoping Village, Taichung. She spent her childhood in the tribe and was nurtured by Tayal culture. However, her ethnic consciousness was not raised until she became a journalist at the age of 23. She worked at Taiwan Indigenous Television and Era News. She interviewed, wrote news stories, and produced features during that time. She also took charge of documentary project-planning and wrote columns for the indigenous youth magazine. Graduating from the Department of Radio and Television, National Taiwan University of Arts, she pays close attention to issues on aboriginal lives and land rights. She loves traveling and presenting these issues by integrating images and writing.