Documentary on Taiwan democracy activists resonates with Thai viewers

Bangkok,  A documentary about two Taiwanese democracy activists was an unexpected hit at the Taiwan Documentary Film Festival in Thailand, most likely because of the ongoing protests here, one of the organizers of the festival told CNA recently.

The film festival, held in early November, was organized by Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand, and the Documentary Club, which was founded by Thai magazine editor Thida Plitpholkarnpim.

Among the films screened at the festival was “The Price of Democracy,” by Taiwanese director Liao Jian-hua (廖建華), a 2019 documentary about two democracy activists in Taiwan who have faded into obscurity.

The documentary was an unexpected hit with Thai viewers at the festival, most likely because of the ongoing student-led protests in Thailand that have prompted a greater interest in politics, Plitpholkarnpim told CNA in an interview.

Now, because democracy resonates with people and they feel they can be participants, Thais are more eager to watch films on this subject, she said.

“The Price of Democracy” would not have been that popular in Thailand two years ago, Plitpholkarnpim said.

The pro-democracy protests in recent years in Asia and the concept of the “Milk Tea Alliance” — an online democratic solidarity movement made up of netizens from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand — have also allowed the Thai people to realize that democracy is closer to home than they may have thought, and it is not confined to faraway countries like the United States and European Union nations, she said.

Taiwanese documentaries, in particular, tend to resonate with Thai audiences, who associate what is happening on screen with what is going on in their own lives, Plitpholkarnpim said.

Unfortunately, Thai documentaries are focused on more limited subjects, and few movie theaters are willing to screen them, she said.

That factor, combined with government censorship, has hampered the documentary industry in Thailand, Plitpholkarnpim said.

She said Taiwan’s documentary industry appeared more robust, with the films exploring many different topics, including issues critical of the government, which would be difficult to achieve in Thailand at the moment.

 

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel

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