“Meeting Dr. Sun” with Director Chih-Yen Yee at the New York Asian Film Festival

Article by Eder Guzman
Photo by Xue Liang

On Tuesday, June 30, Yee Chih-Yen and the New York Asian Film Festival premiered “Meeting Dr. Sun”. Mr. Yee Chih-Yen, a graduate of Taiwan Chengchi University, is a graduate of the UCLA film production program. His penchant for hiring unknown teen actors makes him a “high school drama expert”, and it is no different in this heist comedy.

A couple of students are continuously harassed by a debt collector, with one of them commenting that it’s “ruining his golden boy image”. Unable to pay, the group comes up with a plan to steal a statue of Sun Yat-Sen (founding father of Taiwan). They find out that another group has come up with the same idea, yet with no plan on how to carry it out. When they find out who else had the idea, it becomes a competition of who is the bigger charity case. After seeing the other leader of the group having to sleep under a bridge, he tells him the whole plan, how to escape with the statue unseen, and how to remove it. After telling his friends he let him in on the plan, he is double crossed, and has to find a way to hijack the plan and make sure they are the ones who drive away with the statue. Security is easily fooled, and all the boys get into a huge argument over the statue, and a fight breaks out in the middle of the street over it. They end up being caught, and the media interpreting the theft as a political statement, and the school principal insisting that it was just a school prank gone too far. The two gang leaders settle their differences and admire each other’s tenacity and planning, hoping to team up together in the future.

The Taiwanese film director Yee Chih-Yen had a Q&A session afterwards, speaking on how his career began and the struggles his films having to compete with Hollywood films. In order for Taiwan to see a greater return on investment in films, it needs to have production made in China, and at that point it ceases to be a Taiwanese film. Movies being made at present can make 50 times more money if it is made and released in China than if it is just a Taiwanese production. In order for films to be considered financially successful, it needs to collaborate with either the U.S or China. He went on to state his manner of filmmaking, saying that Taiwanese audiences tastes have changed, perspective has changed. It would be the case that Taiwan was accustomed to making genre films, yet these film “waves” only lasts about 10 years, according to his favorite filmmaker Godard.

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