Kaohsiung's Cultural Industries
Kaohsiung's Cultural Industries
◎English translation: Hou Ya-ting
◎Photos by Bill Hwang
◎Photos courtesy of DAKUO
Kaohsiung's industrial development has given the city a prosperous economy. At the same time, being an industrial city has brought Kaohsiung various problems, such as lingering pollution. Because these get in the way of sustainable development, more than a decade ago, Kaohsiung began endeavoring to transform its heavy industries into cultural industries. Kaohsiung's flourishing cultural industries can now be observed from three perspectives: Pier-2 Art Center; Kaohsiung's film development program; and Digital Art Kaohsiung United Office. Together, they are filling the city with vibrant creativity and facilitating the emergence of cultural industry clusters.
Pier-2 Art Center
Pier-2 Art Center is becoming recognized as a major arts center in south Taiwan. By preserving and repurposing old harbor warehouses, it is a testament to the development of the city's port. Originally, these warehouses were used to store fish, flour, and granulated sugar. Long abandoned before being taken over by local artists in 2001, they now function as a major artistic base. Since 2006, the city government has managed the site as Pier-2 Art Center. From its humble beginnings, utilizing just two and a half warehouses, and hosting only two or three exhibitions a year, Pier-2 Art Center has grown to cover 25 warehouses. Between them, they serve as venues for 30 to 40 exhibitions a year.
Pier-2 Art Center is now one of the city's most popular sightseeing attractions. It exudes a special ambiance and offers visitors a sophisticated environment that encompasses local historical relics and the West Harbor Line Bike Path. The West Harbor Line Bike Path, which runs right through Pier-2 Art Center, was originally the West Harbor Rail Line, a branch railroad that delivered goods to and from the port. Visitors flock to Pier-2 Art Center for the themed exhibitions and art installations. Others come here simply to enjoy a stroll or a bike ride.
Kaohsiung's Film Policy
Cinema and television can reveal the culture, lifestyles, and scenery of a city. Kaohsiung City Government hopes to imprint images of Kaohsiung through a variety of cinematic genres by cultivating the local film industry. Among the supporting measures that have been taken are: the holding each year since 2001 of the Kaohsiung Film Festival; establishing the Kaohsiung Film Archives (also in 2001); investing 10% of the film production budget under the name of the Kaohsiung Film Fund since 2007; establishing the Film Development and Production Center in 2009; holding the KFF (Kaohsiung Film Festival) International Short Film Competition regularly since 2011; and hosting the Kaohsiung Shorts event since 2013.
The city government also makes an all-out effort to efficiently assist casting-crew requests and arrange road closures so filming can go ahead.
These measures have successfully enticed film-industry and cinematic talents to put down roots in Kaohsiung. On the top of that, the policy of investing in movies over 75 minutes in length under the name of the Kaohsiung Film Fund demonstrates the city government's sincere ambition to forge solid partnerships with the industry in order to promote Kaohsiung.
The Bold, The Corrupt and The Beautiful was a recent success thanks to investment by the Kaohsiung Film Fund. The Bold, The Corrupt and The Beautiful won the best feature film, best leading actress, and best supporting actress awards at the 2017 Golden Horse Film Awards, a major event in the world of Chinese-language movies. Two thirds of the film was shot in Kaohsiung, sharing Kaohsiung's scenery with a worldwide audience.
Digital Art Kaohsiung United Office
Kaohsiung City Government is nurturing the digital content industry, and so established Digital Art Kaohsiung United Office (DAKUO) in 2012 as a base and platform to foster entrepreneurship and cultivate young talents and entrepreneurs, in the hope they will grow into a digital-content industry cluster.
DAKUO offers co-working space for up to 30 teams in the field. Some are freelancers; others are small teams. Another of DAKUO's major tasks is to incubate large to medium scaled companies and foreign companies; DAKUO handles every issue its clients may encounter in Kaohsiung. DAKUO also facilitates industry meetups at which individuals and teams can exchange ideas in person and foster cooperation. So far, DAKUO has incubated 48 teams, creating employment for more than 800 people.