The Taiwan Spectrum section, a part of Taiwan International Documentary Festival since 2014, aims to review and explore Taiwanese documentaries from new perspectives, supplement what these films may lack, formulate new historical perspectives, and engage in discourse with the fiction film-centred narratives of Taiwanese film history. Examples include the 2014 theme of ‘When Camera Comes in Between’, which centred on the relationship of those in front of and behind the camera, and in which five Taiwanese documentaries were selected for further discussion; and the 2016 retrospective ‘What’s the Colour for Documentary? – The 30th Anniversary of Green Team’, in which documentaries by Green Team (active 1986-1990) were subtitled in Chinese and English, and re-released and contrasted with CTS news reels.
Although the Green Team films have long been recognised for their significance, their works have never been widely disseminated after the group disbanded. During the planning stages of the 2016 TIDF, we came to the striking realisation that even with the exemplary status that Green Team enjoys, the discourse that their works seek to engage in has never gone through serious development simply because nobody could view them. Such is the disappointment that results from these works remaining unseen!
In other words: in the 2016 TIDF, we attempted to make ‘unseen’ works seen by improving their visibility and readability, and to enable these works to become known by an audience who brought with them the discourse of a new generation. This was an unforgettably wonderful experience, letting classic works cross into a new era to see the light of day again, and it was this experience that informed and encouraged us in curating this year’s Taiwan Spectrum.