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2019 Labor Gold Award Award-Winning Films Announced – Recipient of NT$300,000 Grand Prize to be Unveiled on November 21

The 2019 Labor Gold Award Competition Hosted by the Taipei City Government’s Department of Labor (DOL), the 13th Labor Gold Award Competition is a film competition centered on documenting the images of workers or labor-related events. The aim of the competition is to encourage professional filmmakers to film and discover the stories of laborers so that the general public will understand their plight and the primary causes of these problems, and in turn empathize with the myriads of predicaments the workers are faced with. Labor-related issues will be advocated to foster a sense of recognition towards labor values.

A total of 49 entries in the full-length film and short film category were shortlisted for the final round of this year’s Labor Gold Award. A jury panel consisting of film experts and labor union representatives has handpicked 7 award-winning films, and the recipient of the NT$300,000 grand prize will be unveiled during the award ceremony to be held at 14:00 on November 21 at the Socrates Hall of the GIS NTU Convention Center.

According to Tsai Chung-lung, the Chairman of the Labor Gold Award jury panel, the Labor Gold Award is a competition centered on the theme of labor issues, therefore unlike other general film competitions that focus on creativity or technical aspects as the review standard, the Labor Gold Award concentrates on dimensions including labor dignity, labor values, labor rights, and labor protests as the judging criteria. Whether it is mental labor or manual labor, as long as the film involves an in-depth exploration of the abovementioned subjects, it will be considered consistent with the spirit of the award. Having been organized for a number of years, the Labor Gold Award has become the most important labor-themed film competition in Taiwan, playing a vital role in increasing labor awareness and self-examination in the Taiwanese society, something which has been woefully lacking in the past.

The DOL commented that this year’s Labor Gold Award features a strong lineup that encompasses diversified topics. Four award-winning films in the full-length film category (at least 30 minutes long) are: My Life with the Wave by Huang Hao-jie, which depicts the dilemmas faced by non-mainstream musicians through the story of a band known as The Last Wave, as well as band members including Fan (Hsu Tzu-fan), and Thomas (Chung Chin-pei), the unsung hero of Sheng-Xiang & Band. Echo in the Valley, directed by Ke Wan-ching, utilizes images and narrated history to portray the dark period when indigenous people were heavily involved in developing national forest lands during the 1960s; A Bittersweet Dilemma, directed by Tim Yang, describes the long working hours (often overtime) of nursing personnel in Taiwan and their hardship of being unable to take care of their families due to working day and night shifts. The film aims to highlight the egregious lack of nursing manpower in the country and the labor-intensive work that the angels in white have to endure. Dance of the Mermaids, directed by Chen Hsiao-wen, presents the dark side of the seemingly glamorous department stores. This is the story of department clerks’ struggle in fighting for their rights through organized efforts; forced to withstand harsh working conditions, they often sustain occupational injuries caused by prolonged standing.

The award-winning films in the short film category (10-30 minutes long) include: The Flavor of Ox-Plowed Rice directed by Chen Ning and Yen Tzu-wei, which documents how the protagonist strives to preserve the traditional non-mechanical way of plowing by going against the mainstream agricultural practice that emphasizes production efficiency. The story also depicts how the young farmer vigorously learns from veteran farmers and puts the knowledge to practice. Alchemy, directed by Shih Ho-feng, documents the air pollutants discharged by 400 smokestacks at No. 6 Naphtha Cracker Complex every day, and how the local fishery workers fight for survival amid the pollution. Through their story, people will be able to appreciate the paradoxical phenomenon that producers in the industry are often not the profit earners; Temporary, directed by Hsu Hui-ju, adopts an unorthodox documentary approach, where temporary workers are hired to play the role of temporary workers. She intends to reflect the realistic circumstances that workers find themselves in via the images of abandoned factories, temporary workers taking on part-time jobs, and graffiti writings of “Are You Looking for Temporary Workers?” on the walls.

The total prize money of the 2019 Labor Gold Award Competition is a staggering NT$600,000, and the grand prize of NT$300,000 will be announced at the award ceremony on November 21. Moreover, the grand prize-winning film will be screened during the ceremony, so everyone is invited to attend the function in order to view the film. For instructions on how to participate in the function, please refer to the 2019 Labor Gold Award Facebook page. The trailers of the award-winning films will be available on the event’s official website (http://laboraward.bola.taipei/) or the DOL website>Multimedia>Labor Multimedia Section>Labor Gold Award (https://pse.is/HKVF4) from the day of the award ceremony.