Taiwan has been one of the places least affected by the pandemic with productions able to continue. High-end mini-series More Than Blue, a prequel to the pan-Asian hit film of the same name, started shooting in early July when the rest of the world was in the grip of Covid‑19.
Taiwan has built a reputation as a major production hub of high-end Mandarin-language drama series for the international market. One recent hit was crime thriller The Victims’ Game, which was produced by Hank Tseng’s Taipei-based Greener Grass Production and has been streaming exclusively on Netflix since late April.
“Taiwan has a very strong creative ecosystem,” says Jerry Zhang, content acquisition manager at Netflix. “A lot of its shows and movies tend to cover social topics and current affairs, and there’s a lot of creative energy in telling unique and authentic stories. We’re seeing more and more great productions made in Taiwan that resonate with viewers pan-regionally.”
Taiwan has various filming incentives for local and international productions. The most attractive package comes from the Ministry of Culture’s bureau of audiovisual and music industry development (Bamid), which offers cash rebates of up to 30% for local and international productions with a Taiwanese spend of at least $1m.
Producers are able to combine the rebate with Taiwan’s regional initiatives, including Taipei Film Fund and Kaoshiung Film Fund. “Taiwan has comprehensive incentive schemes that can cater to producers with different budgets,” says Taiwan-born French producer Vincent Wang, whose Paris-based House On Fire recently produced Dutch filmmaker David Verbeek’s vampire film Dead & Beautiful, which shot entirely in Taiwan.
“Taiwan has a long history of film and television production, which has cradled a good source of creative professionals,” says Jessica Kam-Engle, originals chief at HBO Asia. “The government has been very progressive in providing incentives to attract local and foreign productions to shoot in Taiwan or use their talents."
"While it is not a big place, its natural landscapes span from seaside to mountains, rural villages to modern city, providing very diversified locations,” adds Kam-Engle.
Many productions shoot in the capital city Taipei, which ticks all the boxes for ‘buzzing Asian metropolis’ but is less crowded and easier to navigate than some cities in Asia.
Most of the studio facilities are in or around Taipei, including CMPC and Arrow Cinematic Group, while post-production facilities include Taipei Postproduction. Crews are experienced but speak mostly Mandarin, so filmmakers may have to plan well ahead to book English-speaking crew. Taiwan’s government has earmarked the visual-effects industry as one area to develop following the planned launch of a new public-private administrative body, the Cultural Content Institute.
First people to contact
Taipei Film Commission
Film Development and Production Center, Kaohsiung