Minty Talks: Huang Pang-Chuan

Hello world! Our Pepperminds Blog is starting to become a bit more international. With this article we are beginning a series of reflections on young and promising filmmakers around the world through some thoughts on their work and an interview.

The first one we would like to make you discover is Huang Pang-Chuan.

Born in Taiwan in 1988, he graduated in Graphic design at Taichung University (Taiwan) and Cinema and Audiovisual in Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle (France).

He began his career as a photographer and then started experimenting with filmmaking. Until now he realised two shorts that were vastly acclaimed around film festival (from Locarno Film Festival to Clermont-Ferrand International Shorts Film Festival): Return (2017) and Last Year When the Train Passed by (2018).

Return, the first work, is a capture of two journeys. One made physically by Pang-Chuan from France to Taiwan by train, and the other is a discovery of a memory captured in an old photo of Pang-Chuan’s grandfather.

Last Year When the Train Passed by also involves travelling by train. During his travels the director became curious about the lives inside the small houses he saw from the train so he took pictures of the houses and one year after he went to this places to meet the persons living there. Doing so he explored and depicted the power of time and the simple beauty of humanity.

His works combine photography and documentary filmmaking creating something quite unique. These two shorts give a feeling of nostalgia about the past and about the possibilities of the present, with a technical realization that feels very fresh and original.

The element of research about life through travelling by train is present in both shorts and, also if one could say it’s an important philosophical theme, it’s shown in a way that feels very human, relatable and that leaves the audience with a special warmth in the hearth.

And now the interview, starting from a very basic question: What are your favourite movies and who are the directors that inspire you?

If I can only choose one, that will be Ozu Yasujiro. All his movies are my favourite. And also Abbas Kiarostami, Andrei Tarkovsky, Chris Marker etc… Not only movie directors who inspire me but also video artists or some visual artists as well, such as Bill Viola, Takashi Ito etc…

What do you want to express through combining the use of photography and traditional film technology in your works?

I was a photographer before film making. What I’m interested in the most is the material and the form. We should respect them, and show them in an authentic way, not only using them for purpose (like storytelling). Comparing to the digital, traditional film technology has its “ previous life ” (before processing) and “ after life “ (after processing). It can let us to think of the form and the film making itself, why are we making a film and why are we watching it?

Why did you decide to go to study in France and how do you see the relationship between European and asian culture?

I like traveling, studying in France was just a three seconds thought from five years ago, maybe I will move to another country some other day. I think there is no such big difference between European and asian culture, we are all the same.

Travelling by train and meeting people is, for me, one of the things that can teach the most to a human being. So I’m wondering what is the most important or beautiful thing you learnt through your travels-film projects?

One thing I learned from the travels-film is, everyone’s life experiences and stories are so unique but in the same time understandable. Thanks to photography and documentary filmmaking, I can easily get close to these people and listen to them.

How is it going with the diffusion of your works? Are you satisfied with the visibility they have had or you wish they would have been shown in more circumstances/countries? What do you think about the possibility of uploading shorts on streaming platforms?

My works are showed in festivals in the beginning of first year, then after one year’s career they will be put on certain online platform. I don’t mind uploading shorts on streaming, or using different devices to watch them, only if my production company is ok for this.

What should we look forward to in your career? Are there some exciting projects on the way?

I just finished a 16mm documentary in Tokyo this week, being DOP for my friend (Lin Chunni, Love story before sunrise), then personally I have more traveling film project in this year, maybe in France, Vietnam and Switzerland.

If you want to find out more about him, here you can find his website and here you can have a look at the italian translation of the article.

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