New Asian Currents Special Invitation Film [TAIWAN]

Sunflower Occupation

- TAIWAN / 2014 / Chinese / Color / Blu-ray / 120 min

Directors: Sunflower Occupation Documentary Project [Fu Yu, Wang Pei-fen, Chen Yu-ching, Tsai Chung-lung, Tsai Ching-ju, Huang Chao-hui, Li Chia-hua, Kevin H. J Lee, Chou Shi-lun]
Editing: Sunflower Occupation Documentary Project [Lin Kai-po, Fu Yu, Wang Pei-fen, Li Wen-hung, Huang Yi-ling, Su Pei-yu, Lin Chin-hui, A Jen, Li Chia-hua, Chen Chia-hui, Kevin H.J Lee, Chen Shih-yun, Chou Shi-lun, Chou Yu-Wei]
Producers: Ho Chao-ti, Tsai Tsung-lung
Production Company, Source: Taipei Documentary Filmmakers’ Union docunion.blogspot.tw

On March 18, 2014, a group of students entered Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan calling for the Cross-Strait Service Trade Agreement to be retracted. The subsequent occupation of the legislative chamber unfolded over twenty-four days. A huge number of video recordings captured the debates among the occupiers and their life sleeping on the floor of the chamber, the demonstrations carried out by NGOs, students and their supporters, and their resistance to state violence. These actions are overlaid with scenes from the 520 Peasant Movement of 1988 and the Wild Lily student movement of 1990. This film, the work of numerous independent filmmakers, captures the occupation from a full range of perspectives; from the voices of students who took part despite opposition from their families, to various accusations made by researchers and police.

[Director’s Statement] After the young generation stormed through the side door of the Legislative Yuan, it was as if the door to a bottomless black hole had been thrown open. The meaning of democracy was represented in the black hole. As a generation that enjoys a democratic system, when they realize democracy is being taken away from them, their solution is to claim it back. This film records the youth movement of the Sunflower Occupation and how these young activists re-examine the value of democracy and justice, a process that is full of sincere tears and laughter.

And so the documentary filmmakers picked up their cameras and begin to tell stories of the heroes in the “occupy” movement, to disclose their uneasy feelings when facing the crowd, and expose how small they felt in the face of democracy.

- Sunflower Occupation Documentary Project

Sunflower Occupation is produced by the Taipei Documentary Filmmakers’ Union. It is the first independent filmmakers union in Taiwan officially founded in 2006, by documentary filmmakers. The union is dedicated to protecting the basic labor rights of documentary filmmakers and to improving the working standards of independent filmmakers. Based on this mission statement, the union remains committed to promoting the development of the documentary industry. Sunflower Occupation is the first collective project supported by the union. Led by the executive producers Ho Chao-ti and Tsai Tsung-lung, directors including Fu Yu, Wang Pei-fen, Chen Yu-ching, Tsai Chung-lung, Tsai Ching-ju, Huang Chao-hui, Li Chia-hua, Kevin H. J Lee and Chou Shi-lun all made segments of the final film. More than a hundred people were involved in this joint effort. The funding was raised mostly online, winning contributions from 3,154 supporters. It is the biggest collective documentary project in Taiwan’s history.