Chi Po-Lin, the director of “Beyond Beauty: Taiwan From Above,” attended the Houston International Film Festival on April 11. During the seminars, he described the process of making the film, which he gave up his previous career for, and even mortgaged his house to raise funds.
As a documentary, “Beyond Beauty” made a box office record when it opened in Taiwan. The issues of river pollution and excessive land development shown in the film have also been addressed and improved upon. By the end of 2013, the film had won the Taipei Golden Horse Award for Best Documentary, and been screened in Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan. It was recently screened in the United States.
“Beyond Beauty” films the landscape of Taiwan from a bird’s eye view, showing the island’s magnificent mountains and rivers, but also revealing a variety of environmental problems caused by industrial pollution. Chi Po-Lin saw the beauty and damage during the course of filming.
He said when he first saw these “scars” he wanted to hide them because he felt ashamed, but later decided to show the true Taiwan to his audience. Compelled by a strong desire to advocate for environmental protection, he gave up his career as a civil servant with a sizeable pension, and invested in aerial photography equipment worth 30 million Taiwanese dollars (nearly $1 million), using his own savings and mortgage. He overcame various difficulties and completed the film.
Chi said, “The film ‘Beyond Beauty’ reflects a problem that Taiwan is facing, and this environmental issue is actually a problem that has no borders. Although this is happening in Taiwan, it is also a reflection of the world. We hope that this film can draw the attention of people everywhere, and inspire them to care about our environment.”