Green Island movie starts fundraiser

A crowdfunding campaign was on Thursday launched to help finish a movie about three women incarcerated on Green Island, the first Taiwanese film to address female political prisoners during the Martial Law era.

Untold Herstory, which has finished principal photography, focuses on three fictional women incarcerated on Green Island in the 1950s. It is adapted from Tsao Chin-jung’s (曹欽榮) Bonfire Island: Untold Herstory, a collection of interviews with women who had been imprisoned on the island.

The filmmakers hope to raise NT$10 million (US$334,024) in the online fundraising campaign to cover post-production costs, promotion, and domestic and international distribution.

Photo courtesy of the Taiwan Film Corp via CNA

The movie stars Yu Pei-jen (余佩真), who portrays a 17-year-old high-school student; Herb Hsu (徐麗雯) as a young mother named Yan Shui-hsia (嚴水霞); and Cindy Lien (連俞涵), who plays a dancer.

Director Zero Chou (周美玲) said that the women Tsao interviewed and their willpower to survive while holding onto their values resonated with her.

She hopes the movie conveys the same grit, courage and tenacity she felt in the words of the women, Chou said.

“Hopefully, this film will become an important testament to the age of transitional justice,” she added.

The film crew spent more than a year scouting the site of the former prison on Green Island off the southeast of Taiwan, as well as talking with political prisoners and their relatives, she said.

However, all that remained of the prison were some wooden pillars, so the crew had to build a set from scratch, she said.

“The greatest challenge that the actors faced was to deliver their lines in the native dialect of the characters they portray, and use the correct terminology of the times to faithfully capture the zeitgeist of the 1950s,” the director said.

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