The recent decision to legalize gay marriage in Taiwan – the first place in the Chinese world to do so – caused a stampede of people to rush to registry offices across the island. It may open the way to more LGBT films as well.
One movie that clearly acknowledges the historic moment is “Your Name Engraved Herein,” a romantic drama which takes its inspiration from the John Donne poem with the line “a rose by any other name,” and the explanation that love is love, transcending all names and labels.
“After three decades of fight and struggle for the same-sex marriage, the LGBT community in Taiwan is finally catching a glimpse of hope,” say the film’s co-directors Chu Yu-ning and Patrick Liu (aka Liu Kuang Hui). “This symbolic film invites those in the dark to come out and those already in the sunshine to celebrate this loud revolution.” It stars Leon Dai, Wang Shih-Sian and Fabio Grangeon.
The directors say that the film is an adaptation of real events. The movie depicts a love story that starts in 1987 between two Taiwanese high school students, Hans and Birdy. Hans tries to confess his sexuality to priests Father Olivier, but receives no blessing. One hides his feelings and settles down with a woman. The story then jumps 20 years forward to Canada, where the country has had its quiet revolution, and the characters’ true feelings can be revealed.
Chu is one of Taiwan’s best established directors, with credits including “My Whispering Plan” in 2003, “To My Dear Granny” in 2013 and last year’s hit “Back to the Good Times.” Liu is better known as a TV director, and in 2016 completed his first feature “22nd Catch.”
Produced through Taiwan’s Oxygen Films, and Canada’s PQ Films, with support from U.S company Legacy Pictures, “Engraved Herein” was shot in Taiwan and Canada on a budget of about $1 million. Funding included finance from the Taipei Film Commission and use of Canadian tax credits.
The film is now in advanced post-production and is seeking a major festival berth in early next year, ahead of a Taiwan theatrical release in summer 2020. The film’s production team attended this week’s Shanghai International Film Festival in search of a sales agent, though they are also examining the possibility of multi-territory rights sale to major pay-TV and streaming platforms.
“These days HBO, Netflix and Fox are all producing in Taiwan,” said Legacy’s Beijing-based representative Danielle Yen. “It is part of their content localization efforts, and recognition of the growing creativity in Taiwanese production.”