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“Mini” Golden Horse - UST micro movie contest shows huge potential of Taiwanese students
Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2013-12-05 06:14 PM
Emerging culture – micro movies

Micro movies have turned into a new fashion in Taiwan’s film industry in recent years. They generally come in under 10 minutes but usually still manage to impress or leave an impact on the audience. This type of low-cost micro movie is growing. For young directors, micro movies bring them unprecedented opportunities. Anyone with a video camera today can make a movie, publish it online, and get fame fast, as long as it can get a crowd talking about it.

With a smartphone penetration rate in Taiwan exceeding 50 percent, micro movies can comfortably meet the entertainment needs of commuters who want to watch a short film while on the go. That can explain the micro movie fad island-wide.

UST “mini” Golden Horse for Micro Movie

As the cost of shooting a micro movie is much less time- and money-consuming, many college students in Taiwan start to make micro movies in order to hold on to the images of school life. Aware of this fad, the University System of Taiwan (UST) rolled out a micro-movie competition in the summer and selected the best with high ratings in filming skill, creativity, and structure.

After a two-week-long online vote and expert reviews, the first prize went to “Swing NCU” directed by a senior student at National Central University (NCU). “Swing NCU” is a musical carnival-like micro movie with a light-hearted touch, which depicts four years of school life in a well-knit three-minute movie, starting the show from a bunch of students pacing up for morning classes to dressing up for a graduate group photo shooting mostly in the Charleston Stroll dancing style.

The second prize went to “Love in UST,” directed by a senior medical student at National Yang-Ming University (NYMU). The whole structure of this film is connected by a fine-quality self-made song which sets a picture of a fictional love story on a UST school bus. This micro movie displays all the sightseeing spotlights of top schools under the UST school union, including National Tsing Hua University (NTHU), National Chiao Tung University (NCTU), NCU, and NYMU in a three-minute humorous film.

Broadway Vintage of Swing Classics

The biggest prize of the UST micro movie competition goes to “Swing NCU.” In addition to directing a movie, Lin Kai-sheng林楷晟, co-director of this award-winning film, was also in charge of the choreography. In the interview, Lin said the motivation to shoot this film was to keep some good memories of the last days of school and to pass it down to juniors of the college dance club he belongs to. Line also noted that the movie and dancing movements are inspired by the Charleston Stroll originated in the 1923 Broadway musical “Runnin’ Wild” with music by James P. Johnson.

In this movie, dozens of college students danced the Charleston Stroll together in a variety of locations, including the library, school buildings, a food court. Each stands for a different part of school life: students rush to school in the morning; study at the library and in the classroom; have lunch or drink at the food court. Some students also danced in the rain, holding umbrellas in different bright colors that remind us to keep our chin up despite the headwind. At the end of this micro movie, graduates wear gowns and caps for the group photo shooting, symbolizing the end of college life.

Using improv as a screenwriting tool

“Love in UST,” a film depiction of a daydreaming medical school student, ranks second in this micro movie contest and uses improvisation skill. In this movie, a male medical school student daydreams that he meets a girl from NCU on the school bus. Director Lai Yen-Ho賴彥合treated the film organically, allowing it to develop sometimes spontaneously. Besides, Lai considers the song as the soul of this movie, so he took part in its creation. Lai wrote the lyrics of the song himself and another classmate surnamed Tseng composed the music. They even went to a professional recording studio in the hope of giving a good narration as well as a high-quality acoustic performance at the same time.

Lai said in an interview that his team shot the film not only at his own school NYMU but also at other campuses in the UST school union. In the movie, two stuffed animals were personalized, and both took campus tours around the popular spots, such as a modern library and a temple at NTHU, and a gym at NCTU. Director Lai spontaneously put together different cuts into a complete story. The movie flows smoothly from one scene to another in a professional style.

The 2013 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival just ended on November 28; excellent films, actors, and movie professionals were honored at the festival. In the 2013 UST micro-movie competition, students are encouraged to show their talents, creativity, and dynamics through film creations. This event not only helps the world to see the unlimited potential of Taiwanese college students but also lets us see greater possibilities in the development of Taiwan’s micro-movie art industry.

To watch more winning video clips, visit

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