The Taipei International Film Festival (June 29-July 15) announced the 12 films for its International New Talent Competition, designated for international filmmakers with their first or second feature film. The selections include five Asian premieres and the world premieres of two local titles.

Produced by Chung Mong-hong, who also serves as cinematographer under his pseudonym Nagao Nakashima, The Great Buddha+ (大佛) – the feature length version of a 2014 short – is about a middle-aged man who discovers a shocking secret when he sees what is on his factory boss’ dashboard camera. Starring Leon Dai and Chang Shao-huai, the film is directed by Huang Hsin-yao, a documentary filmmaker who won the festival’s grand prize and best documentary prize in 2011 with Taivalu (沈ㄕㄣˇ沒ㄇㄟˊ之島).

Executive produced by Hou Hsiao-hsien, Missing Johnny (強尼.凱克) is the story of three lonely people whose lives intersect. Directed by Huang Xi, the film stars Lawrence Ko, Rima Zeidan and Huang Yuan.

Mandarin Vision is handling international sales for both films. The Great Buddha+ is set for a local release in October, and Missing Johnny is set for release in December.

Other Asian titles in the competition include Chinese documentary Children Are Not Afraid of Death, Children Are Afraid of Ghosts (孩子不懼怕死亡,但是害怕魔鬼), Chinese Berlinale title The Foolish Bird (笨鳥) and Singaporean Sundance winner Pop Aye. Korean-American director kogonada’s Colombus, which also screened in Sundance, has also been chosen for the competition.

The 12 films will compete for an NT$600,000 (US$19,800) grand prize, a NT$300,000 (US$9,920) jury prize, and the audience’s choice award.

In addition to the New Talent Competition titles, the festival previously announced a retrospective featuring six films scored by Lim Giong, remastered classics such as Ikarie XB1, as well as a selection of southeast Asian films that include Diamond Island, Birdshot, and documentary Hidden Photos.

The festival is expected to announce the nominees for its Taipei Film Awards competition in the coming weeks.

2017 Taipei International Film Festival New Talent Competition: 

Children Are Not Afraid of Death, Children Are Afraid of Ghosts (China)
Columbus (USA)
Dogs (Romania)
The Foolish Bird (China)
The Great Buddha+ (Taiwan)
Insyriated (Belgium/France/Lebanon)
Mimosas (Morocco/Spain/France/Qatar)
Missing Johnny (Taiwan)
Pedular (Brazil)
People That Are Not Me (Israel)
Pop Aye (Singapore)
The Wound (South Africa)