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2019 Labor Gold Award Competition Kickoff Press Conference – Top Prize Recipient Commends the Credibility of the Award and Encourages the Public to Submit Entries

* The Department of Labor (DOL) hosted the 13th 2019 Labor Gold Award Competition kickoff press conference today. Besides inviting Chen Wen-pin, the actor and director of the movie I Can't Live Without You (who also won the best male actor at Taipei Film Festival) as the event ambassador, top prize recipients of the Labor Gold Award from 2016 through to 2018 – including directors Hsiao Li-chun, Tsai Chung-lung and videographer Lai I-po also attended the function to share their experiences in film production and participating in the competition.

Deputy Commissioner of Labor Chen Hui-chi commented that the Chinese words Lao Dong (labor) both use the radical Li (strength), therefore we are always engaged in labor regardless of what we do for work. Whether through the use of words or images, the silhouette of labor deserves to be documented. In addition to hosting the Labor Gold Award and the Labor Film Festival, the DOL also published the Labor Union Story series and organized Image Workshops for Union Management. The aim is to offer more perspectives on the issue of labor through labor rights films, so that the public may contemplate and engage in discussions that in turn enable them to understand the labor environment in Taiwan and become more aware about their labor rights.

According to director Chen Wen-pin (who also serves as the event ambassador), he has long paid attention to local environmental reform issues and has been dedicated to the human rights movement. Chen himself is profoundly aware of the impact that images as a medium can have on the society. His incessant contributions to the Labor Gold Award has given labor in all corners of society an opportunity to be seen, and he feels gratified to be able to make a difference in the world. With the rapid advances in photographic technology, everyone can take a great picture with a smartphone, thereby lowering the barrier to taking photos considerably. He encourages people not only to capture their own labor stories or the stories of others anywhere, anytime, but also to partake in the Labor Gold Award Competition in order to showcase their creations to the world.

Director Hsiao Li-chun, the recipient of the top prize in 2016 with Robot Somnambulism, reviewed the reason for using Foxconn as the backdrop for his movie. Someone once said that “Workers who jump to their deaths are inherently sick,” and the comment got him thinking, “Is it really that simple?” The thought motivated him to complete his work, but never in his wildest imagination did he know that such a controversial topic would win him the grand prize at the time. He believes that the judging process of the Labor Gold Award is unequivocally fair and just. In addition, winning an award serves as tremendous encouragement for a creator, because such an honor facilitates the exposure of their works, and the prize money provides financial support for them to engage in the promotional tours of their films with peace of mind. Hsiao has applied his own experiences to encourage creators to submit their works.

As the recipient of the top prize in 2017 with the movie entitled See You, Lovable Strangers, Director Tsai Chung-lung smiled and suggested that videographers who focus on labor rights are like partners in crime bent on exposing the labor rights issues of those unsung heroes or those marginalized by society, and the Labor Gold Award is like an opportunity to present them to the public. Tsai admitted that he entered the competition at the time to probe the government's level of inclusiveness on the subject of illegal foreign labor. The results revealed that DOL places considerable emphasis on labor rights, offering a broad and inclusive perspective on the subject. By winning the award and having his creation becoming a permanent collection of the Taipei Public Library, more people are given the opportunity to see the plight of illegal migrant workers, and they are more willing to think about the subject, therefore the Labor Gold Awards should continue in the future as well.

Lai I-po, the videographer of last year's winning film Squid Jigging Fishing Boat, shared his experience of filming migrant workers aboard a shipping vessel. According to Lai, besides the arduous work environment and the dangers involved during filming that left him in awe, he decided to tackle such a nonmainstream topic to let the people of Taiwan – often associating the ocean with seafood – to catch a glimpse of the work environment at sea. In addition, he never dreamt that he would win any award, let alone the top prize. Now, his team is able to continue tracking the condition of fishing workers, and therefore the award has become a tremendous inspiration for aspiring documentary filmmakers.

According to the DOL, the Labor Gold Award Competition has solicited labor rights issue-related films since its inception in 2007. To date, nearly 200 outstanding labor-related films have been collected. After the length of submitted videos was increased to at least 30 minutes in 2016 and the prize money for first prize was raised, many professional directors have already submitted their work. This year, by establishing the short film category (10-30 minutes in length), it is hoped that more submissions with a focus on labor rights, labor conditions, and labor dignity will be attracted to the Award. The submission deadline of this year's competition is September 10, and all documentary films inspired by the subject of labor rights that have been filmed after July 1, 2016, are invited to vie for a total prize of NT$600,000 (including the NT$300,000 top prize)!

In an effort to promote award-winning films from previous years, the theme of ‘Climbing Mountains and Diving into Oceans’ will be used for the screening of 2018 top-prize film Squid Jigging Fishing Boat and outstanding award film Taiwan Forest Guard in the audio-visual room at the Bopiliao Historic Block on July 28, 2019. Everyone is welcome to sign up for the screening event to share creative stories with the films’ directors. This is an event not to be missed!

For more information, please refer to the DOL's website or the official event website (http://laboraward.bola.taipei/). For submission and screening-related information, please contact the Labor Gold Award organizer ROC Association for Promoting Labor Rights and Employment (02-2926-7138), or dial 1999 (for callers outside Taipei, please dial 02-2720-8889) #3357 (Labor Education and Culture Division, the DOL).