Exclusive Interview Director Tsai Yang-Ming

Director Tsai Yang-Ming accepting the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award

Article by William Kustiono
Photo by Niko

On Friday, July 5th 2013, Tsai Yang-Ming (蔡揚名) has given us a time to have a special interview at Lincoln Center about his recent achievement: The Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award chosen by New York Asian Film Festival.

Director Tsai Yang-Ming accepting the Star Asia Lifetime Achievement Award

Tsai Yang-Ming is the godfather of Taiwan Black movies. This 2013 marks the 50th year since Tsai joined the filming business. His first debut was during the golden age of Taiwanese dialect films. Tsai has also starred in more than 200 movies. In 1969, when the government declared Taiwan under martial law, Tsai directed Mandarin films. He once finished making a movie with high cost, but some of the film was cut due to strict censorship by the government. He won the best screenplay award at the Asian Film Festival with Never Too Late to Repent.

Director Tsai Yang-Ming with a fan who prepared a poster for autograph

During the interview, he was really happy about the award. He mentioned that the journey he took in order to achieve the Lifetime Award is really challenging. He once started the filming business as a writer, actor, director, and he became a movie producer. In the early years, directing a film was really challenging because the budget was small and there was a lot of censorship everywhere about Taiwanese movies. Therefore, it is very hard to produce a good quality of movie. Tsai mentioned there was collaboration with the Bruce Lee movie production company, but the movie was under heavy censorship by the government. A lot of Tsai’s movie is about documentaries and this is the reason that the government censored his movies. Tsai continued to produce films and one of the best movies mentioned is Big Land Flying Eagle, it is a Taiwanese Kung Fu movie.

Director Tsai Yang-Ming

Tsai was very eager to tell us about his journey in the New York City. He has traveled to New York City for several times, attending special events, famous places such as Empire State and friends in the New York area. His films are also distributed throughout Chinatown. One of his friends who lived in the New York City is a major Asian American and Asian Canadian film distributor; therefore he is glad to have a connection to spread his films around the North America.

Tsai has six disciples of movie producers and the last disciple is his son, Tsai Yueh-Hsun (蔡岳勳). He is very happy to have these six disciples because he was very lucky to have them help him work on the movie production. During the golden age of the Chinese films, these disciples helped him spread his work on film directing around the world.

Director Tsai Yang-Ming

At the end of the interview, he mentioned that in the future he wants to direct a movie with young Taiwanese actors such as Zhao You Ting. Tsai also believed that he was born fifty years too early to catch up with the current movie progress around the world. He is very confident that he can change the movie world, if he was born in the right time. He also wants to sponsor young movie directors to produce new movies.

Tsai Yang-Ming

Director Tsai Yang-Ming shows off his muscle

Director Tsai Yang-Ming with Ricki Cheng


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