New Narratives Film Festival: Bird on the Wire
The New Narratives Film Festival is devoted to presenting innovative documentaries that focus on contemporary social issues, with a program format that incorporates multi-media events such as music and theater performances.
This project was founded by the Taipei Hakka Affairs Commission in 2015, and since its inception, has been run and curated by Trees Music and Art, an independent music label in Taipei. Trees is best known for nurturing Taiwanese music artists concerned about social issues, and in recent years has expanded into film projects such as the NNFF.
Each year of NNFF focuses on a particular theme. In 2015, the film program was entitled “Borders and Beyond,” looking at global issues that resonate with a Hakka Chinese perspective. 2016’s “Island Elegies” examined the modern legacy of colonialist rule in Asia, in places such as Okinawa, Cambodia, and Laos.
For 2017, “Bird on the Wire” honors the work of singer-songwriters that came of age in the 1960s and 70s such as Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan, with film screenings and events that highlight the role of music in social change. This year’s festival opens with the film “Tongpan,” a 1970s docu-drama from Thailand that depicts grassroots opposition to the construction of the Mekong Dam in the northeastern part of the country, which fed into a larger movement against the ruling military dictatorship. One of the filmmakers is legendary Thai folk-rock singer and activist Surachai “Nga Caravan,” who will attend the screening and perform his songs. This event is also part of NNFF’s mission to experiment with “new narratives,” with special performances and events that combine live music, film and other multimedia.