New immigrant director promotes new film and talks accidental ‘overstay’ in Taiwan

TAIPEI (The China Post) — The latest drama film “Terrorizers” (青春弒戀), directed by Malaysian new immigrant Ho Wi-ding (何蔚庭) was released on Nov. 19 to great reviews and has already nabbed five Golden Horse Awards nominations.

Speaking at a recent interview with local Chinese-language media, he revealed that he had initially come to Taiwan for travel. To his surprise, he fell in love with the island and in the blink of an eye, had lived in Taiwan for 20 years and made a great life here.

As a new immigrant, he remarked that he thinks Taiwan is very tolerant of people from all over the world and respects creators’ rights, making it one of the nation’s most attractive features.

Ho continued, saying when he first arrived in Taiwan, he had only packed one suitcase, intent on only staying for a month. Who would’ve known that 30 days became 20 years, and he is now happily married in Taiwan and has children of his own.

He told of when he left his hometown in Malaysia to study in New York, he would watch the works of Taiwan’s New Wave era with films directed by world-renowned, Hou Hsiao-hsien (侯孝賢), Tsai Ming-liang (蔡明亮) and Edward Yang (楊德昌).

He said he not only loved their works but also hoped to visit Taipei someday, which was why after graduation, he traveled to Taiwan and later settled here.

For this film, Ho observed and collected data from his friends’ lives which inspired the different backgrounds for the six main characters, interweaving a seemingly alienated but also, interconnected network.

“There are very few college students’ depictions in Taiwanese movies; most of them center around high school students,” Ho observed.

However, he felt that the chaotic one or two years after graduation is never captured on film and set out to do so.

He explained that he understood during this time, work, relationships, and parents’ expectations of oneself will all come together, so he tried to showcase that in his film.

The film was not only nominated for the Golden Horse Awards but was also selected by the British film magazine “Screendaily” as one of the most noteworthy films in the global film festivals this year.

“Terrorizers” was released on Nov. 19 in Taiwan, and stars Austin Lin (林柏宏), J.C. Lin (林哲熹), Moon Lee (李沐),  Annie Chen (陳庭妮), Ding Ning (丁寧), and Pipi Yao (姚愛寗) as characters explore relationships during the age of social media.