Nation mourns after crash claims life of acclaimed aerial filmmaker

The death of filmmaker Chi Po-lin, director of acclaimed aerial documentary Beyond Beauty�Taiwan from Above, in a helicopter crash June 10 in eastern Taiwan's Hualien County sparked outpourings of grief around the country, with President Tsai Ing-wen expressing her shock and sadness via her personal Facebook page.

Chi, 52, was killed in the crash along with his assistant Chen Kuan-chi and pilot Chang Chih-kuang while working on a sequel to 2013's Beyond Beauty. The filmmaker and production company Taiwan Aerial Imaging Inc. had announced plans for the follow-up at a news conference in Taipei City just two days before.

Tsai wrote on her Facebook page that Chi's death was a great loss to the nation, stating that his work fostered awareness of Taiwan's natural beauty and inspired many people to join conservation efforts.

Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong similarly expressed his deep condolences and sorrow. Citing the director's contributions to a three-year project launched in 2010 to create aerial films of Taiwan's national parks, Yeh said the Ministry of the Interior will continue to be inspired by Chi's devotion to his homeland and its natural environment in ensuring the proper regulation of land development projects.

Wu Nien-jen, a novelist, playwright and director who provided the voiceover for Beyond Beauty�Taiwan from Above, spoke on stage following the conclusion of a stage play he directed June 10 in southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung City to express his sadness over Chi's death. The aerial filmmaker offered people a new perspective on Taiwan and the best way to remember him is to show concern for the nation's environment, Wu said.

A former civil servant, Chi worked for the Ministry of Transportation and Communications taking aerial images of expressways and major construction projects before quitting in 2009 after witnessing the damage inflicted across central and southern Taiwan by Typhoon Morakot. He subsequently devoted his life to highlighting environmental issues and showcasing the country's natural landscapes.

The culmination of these efforts was Beyond Beauty�Taiwan from Above. This 90-minute film broke several box office records in the country, including largest opening weekend for a locally made documentary, and won Best Documentary at the 2013 Golden Horse Awards, Taiwan's equivalent of the Oscars.

Source: Taiwan Today