Building Bridges: Community Partnership with the Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival

July 22, 2021

Partnering with the TWFF uplifts the whole arts community.

I have the unique pleasure this summer of working with a lot of local arts and service organizations to get the word out about the Vancouver Queer Film Festival. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Ian Lin (he, him), President of the Vancouver Taiwanese Film Society, a non-profit arts and culture initiative that produces the annual Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival, and our 2021 Community Partner for See You Then.

Since 2007, TWFF has introduced audiences to films from Taiwanese creators celebrating culture and history. In 2020, the Festival offered eight films for free on topics ranging from archiving film to systemic sexism in the entertainment industry. Ian says, “that by doing so we emphasize the cultural diversity of Canada and encourage dialogue between people.” As a result, Taiwanese audiences connect with their diaspora, and folks from other cultural backgrounds develop cultural intelligence.

Community partnership is crucial to engaging with the communities we seek to serve through our programming, and helps us meet many of the same goals as the TWFF: working together we build connection, understanding, and awareness of our similarities and beautiful differences.

During my conversation with Ian, we spoke about the significance of cross-promotion, which is when marketing information is exchanged between organizations to promote their programming to a broader audience. Cross-promotion allows more folks to learn about the entertaining and educational arts programming happening in Vancouver. Working together, we’re able to  “create a communication bridge between two different film industries,” as Ian puts it, allowing both organizations to reach a wider audience. As a community partner, Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival will promote See You Then, a film which showcases 2SLGBTQIA+ authenticity behind the camera. The TWFF will promote our film partnership on Facebook and is hosting a ticket giveaway on their Instagram (a well-planned giveaway has the potential to grow a more engaged audience!)

In exchange, we’re happy to promote our relationship with the TWFF: listing them on our website, recognizing them in our announcements before the film, and promoting their festival materials later this fall. By sharing information, and audiences, both of our organizations are able to build new, meaningful connections with new film-lovers.

Directed by Mari Walker, a trans woman who uses cinema to speak on issues that have come to the forefront during her transition, See You Then is a drama about two ex-lovers.  Kris, who underwent a gender transition, invites Naomi – played by Taiwanese-American actress Lynn Chen – for a night out after an abrupt breakup a decade earlier. Their vulnerable conversation touches on unresolved conflicts, regrets and exposes their deepest scars. VQFF Artistic Director Anoushka Ratnarajah describes See You Then as a “cinematic exercise in compassion and empathy, for oneself as much as others.” The film inspires reflection from the audience on what it means to be a woman, and about the often difficult experiences we endure to survive. The heartbreaking ending is guaranteed to have audiences crying as they come to terms with the painful emotions that arise from reconnecting with ex-lovers, even when we long for their presence in our lives.  Folks can purchase tickets to See You Then on our website

As you probably already know, the theme of the 33rd Vancouver Queer Film Festival is Longing. I asked Ian what he has been longing for recently. Of course, answers to such an intimate question vary from person to person. However, Ian’s response speaks to a universal human desire that can often feel out of reach.. “Peace; everyone lives in harmony, accepts each other and no one will be judgmental of a group of people,” he says. When we welcome someone back into our lives who we haven’t seen in a while but long for their connection, we can only hope to receive unconditional acceptance. Far too often that isn’t the case as unresolved wounds come to the surface.

The 2021 Vancouver Taiwanese Film Festival will be presented virtually from September 11 to 19. The programme will be available to view online in August. Follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to receive updates.

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