Taichung City Government Information Bureau has invested NT$793 million to build the “Central Taiwan Audiovisual Base” at Wufeng District, Taichung. This installation covers the wave pool of the “Life of Pi” directed by Ang Lee, a deep pool, the 2 biggest indoor acoustic studios in Taiwan, and 1 medium-sized filming studio. The site is positioned as the “Special underwater filming effect base” and will become the biggest studio of Taiwan. Taichung City Mayor Lu Shiow-Yen was present at the press conference for the opening ceremony of the “Central Taiwan Audiovisual Base” today (July 22). She mentioned that this installation has been under planning for almost 10 years with the support of 3 mayors from both the KMT and the DPP. This really is a historic day that the base could be unveiled for pilot running as of today. Taichung City Government will be the strongest support behind the development of the audiovisual industry and extend its invitation to filming teams at home and abroad to produce their films in Taichung.
A press conference marked the opening ceremony of the “Central Taiwan Audiovisual Base” today. Ang Lee, the world-renowned film director, specifically produced a congratulatory footage for the occasion and demonstrated the special effects of the hydraulic platform and gigantic waves produced in the wave pool in the studio. Also present were Mayor Lu and Lin Kun-Huang, the General Manager of the Bade Team of OT enterprise Central Motion Picture Co., Ltd. They worked in concert to make Taichung a stronghold for audiovisual production.
Prominent figures of the film and entertainment circle also shared the occasion, including Wang Tung, Chu You-Ning, Liao Ching-Sung, Tu Du-Zhi, Lee Lieh, Yeh Ru-Fen, and Lee Yao-Hwa. Filming units from other counties and cities supporting the filming and related schools and colleges of audiovisual education also attended the occasion. Former Director of the Taichung City Information Office, Shih Ching-Wen, the person who helped to bring about the planning and construction of the studio and Legislators Yan Kuan-Heng, Ho Hsin-Chun, City Councilors Lee Lee-Hwa, Lin Pi-Hsiu, Ran Ling-Hsuen, Lee Tien-Sheng, Lin Deh-Yu, and Huang Chien-Ho also expressed their concern and joined the occasion. They all hoped that the Central Taiwan Audiovisual Base will be successful and thrive in the future.
The total expenditure for the construction of the Central Taiwan Audiovisual Base is approximately NT$800 million. “It has been almost 10 years since Director Ang Lee picked up the site at Shuinan Airport in 2010 and started building the artificial pools to its completion and opened to service today,” said Mayor Lu. Taichung has stable weather conditions and has convenient to transportation, which allows for efficient cost control in filming. For this reason, Ang Lee publicly recognized that Taichung is an ideal place for filming.
“Former Mayors Jason Hu and Lin Chia-Lung of Taichung have also held the position as the Director of the Government Information Office of Executive Yuan,” said Mayor Lu. She also mentioned that she herself has been a journalist at CTS. These 3 mayors have interactions and exchanges with the audiovisual industry and they all treasure the development of the industry. Mayor Lu expressed her gratitude for the support of the Legislators and the City Councilors, and also the effort of the Bade Team of Central Motion Picture Co., Ltd. to bear the burden of running the studio. Today is a historic day that marks the opening of the Central Taiwan Audiovisual Base, which is the result of the efforts of many, said Mayor Lu.
The Central Taiwan Audiovisual Base has its origin from the film “Life of Pi” directed by Ang Lee, and has been appropriately managed by the team of the Taichung City Information Office led by “young” Director Wu Huang-Sheng in every detail. “Without the efforts of these people, this would not have happened,” said Mayor Lu. As the host, Mayor Lu would like to extend her invitation to all filming teams at home and abroad to film in Taichung and Taichung City Government will give the best of all support to all filming teams.
General Manager Lin Kun-Huang of Central Motion Picture Co., Ltd. at Bade thanked the city government for keeping the wave pool intact, which was built in those days, with relocation and remodeling of the only “Life of Pi” wave pool of Ang Lee in Asia. The brand new deep pool for underwater filming is 7 meters in depth. This site also houses the 3 biggest filming studios with 16 meters in elevation and equipped with 6 brand new hydraulic platforms. Last year, it also worked with the biggest light fixture maker of the world, “Luminys,” which was recognized by the Academy Awards and Emmy Awards.
The Bade Team of Central Motion Picture positioned the “Central Taiwan Audiovisual Base” as the “special water effect filming base.” They thanked the Taichung City Government for offering a preferential rate for the rent and they promise to provide the best equipment at the best price to the filming teams, and run the operations carefully to align with the filming studios in Hollywood.
Director of Taichung City Government Information Office explained in detail the prospects of the audiovisual industry in Taichung on the scene. He mentioned that the policy of Taichung City Government in the aspect of the audiovisual industry rests with the investment in the installation of hardware and subsidizing audiovisual production, assistance in filming, promotion of the industry, and industry-academic collaborative education and training of human resources, and to provide a full-range of services for assisting the film production teams.
The City Information Office has established the Zhongshan 73 Audiovisual Arts Center, which is the only venue for audiovisual arts in Taiwan, and will continue to organize film festivals related to the Golden Horse Awards and other international animation shows, learn from the creativity of foreign experts, and create the opportunity for the development of audiovisual business in Taichung.
The Central Motion Picture Team will design professional programs after moving into the base, and show the students a better understanding of the film industry. Currently, it has engaged in collaborative education with Chaoyang University of Technology and Asia University, and wishes to promote the exchanges of international technology personnel with Taiwan for convergence of the audiovisual industry in central Taiwan.
Director Wu specifically thanked former Director Shih Ching-Wen of the Taichung City Information Office, the initiator of the planning for the audiovisual base. She has successfully coordinated and addressed all problems related to the use of land and funding so that the audiovisual base can come into being and be opened to service. Each and every one may have a dream of the city, and he will lead his team of the Information Office to move towards the goal of making Taichung a stronghold of audiovisual industry slowly but surely, said Director Wu.
According to the Taichung City Government Information Office, the budget for the new building of the “Central Taiwan Audiovisual Base” is prepared independently by Taichung City Government aiming at developing the base as the “Audiovisual Base for Gearing Up Taiwan with the World.” The land use has been successfully changed in 2014 with the confirmation of the budget and the plan. The project was kicked off in October 2016 and completed in July 2018, and was successfully accepted and delivered to the operator under the effort of the Information Office staff in January of this year.
After the presence of the Central Motion Picture team, the base will provide an environment for professional filming, full-range hardware and equipment support, prop production service, filming advice and others. It could also serve as the channel for communication between the industry and the academe in providing assistance in filming and practical training for the students, which could eventually help to develop talents in the audiovisual industry in Taichung.