Taiwanese film, “Moneyboys,” has been nominated for the KAU KA HŌKŪ Main Competition at the 41st edition of the 2021 Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF). With its depiction of a subtle romance between two boys, the film not only had its world premiere in this year’s Cannes in the Un Certain Regard section but also been selected for A Window on Asian Cinema at Busan International Film Festival. It was co-produced by Taiwan, Austria, Frane and Belgium and shot entirely in Taiwan, with its tropical scenery drips with languid, sweaty sensuality.
“Moneyboys” is a story about a gay hustler Fei, who works illegally in order to support his family. His world collapses when he realizes that his family accepts his money but not his homosexuality. The subtle and delicate performance of Fei’s complex emotion by the leading cast Kai Ko made him nominated for Best Leading Actor of the 53rd Golden Horse Awards. The Chinese Austrian director, C.B. Yi, was also enrolled to Best New Director of the Golden Horse Awards with “Moneyboys” as his first feature.
With the support from Taiwan’s Ministry of Culture, the Taiwan Academy of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles has launched the “Spotlight on Taiwan” at HIFF for the 11th consecutive year. This year, in addition to “Moneyboys,” the line-up of “Spotlight on Taiwan” also includes 2 feature films “Born to be Human” and “Listen Before You Sing,” a documentary “Sounds of Taiwan: A Symphony by Bao Yuankai,” and an episodic series “The Magician on the Skywalk.” All the films above will be available to watch online throughout the entire United States.
“Born to be Human” is a story about a 14-year-old boy accidentally diagnosed as intersex and then forced to operate a transgender operation becoming a girl. The inner struggle and the contradiction of gender identification makes her struggle very much since then. “Listen Before You Sing” is inspired by a true story about a suburban elementary school in the deep mountain area facing the crisis of closure. In an attempt to prove their value as an institution and keep their doors open, the school enters a choir competition with the hopes of winning. “Sounds of Taiwan: A Symphony by Bao Yuankai” chronicles a composer’s masterful work, inspired by the wonders and beauty of Taiwan. “The Magician on the Skywalk” is a 10-episode series with a focus on an imaginative elementary student who befriends an eccentric magician, and the various miracles or twists are explored with his active imagination and his magician compadre who brings these stories to life.
Entering its 41st edition, 2021 HIFF will present 123 features, 100 shorts, and for the first time ever, a new episodic series program from 36 countries, from November 4-28, 2021. For more information about Spotlight on Taiwan, please visit: https://hiff.org/hiff41-program-guide/#spotlight-on-taiwan