‘Barkley’ spotlights southern Taiwan at Taipei premiere

MOC Minister Cheng Li-chiun (right) and director Chiu Li-wei give the thumbs-up at the premiere of his internationally acclaimed animation “Barkley” D

“Barkley,” an 87-minute film produced by Studio2 Animation Lab in southern Taiwan’s Tainan City, premiered late last month in Taipei City to rave reviews from critics, cinema lovers and politicos alike.
Directed by Chiu Li-wei, a former assistant professor at Tainan University of the Arts, the visually dazzling feature replete with Chinese and English subtitles centers on the exploits of a boy, Fido, and his feline friend, Barkley, as they battle to expose the charlatan ruler of their city and discover new truths about themselves along the way.
Barkley started life as the main character in a children’s book created in 1994 by Chiu. The story proved immensely popular and was adapted in 2011 into a 13-episode TV miniseries broadcast in 33 countries and territories.
Screened at international competitions since 2016, the movie boasts a bevy of awards such as Best Animation at Amsterdam Film Festival and Best Animation Feature Film at San Diego International Kids' Film Festival, both in 2017. It also claimed Best Animation Feature at the 54th Golden Horse Awards, the first time a local production has won the honor since 2005 at the most prestigious film awards in the world of Chinese-language cinema.
Minister of Culture Cheng Li-chiun said at the premiere that the film portrays the distinct cultural and geographical landscapes of southern Taiwan in a way easily understandable to foreign audiences and is testament to the potential of the domestic animation industry.
According to Cheng, the feature has thrust Taiwan’s animation, comics and games talents into the global spotlight. The Ministry of Culture is committed to supporting the development of these individuals and their industries through increased funding and greater public-private sector cooperation, she added.
Another homegrown animation looking to follow in the footsteps of “Barkley” is “On Happiness Road.” Set for release Jan. 5, the 109-minute film depicts the trials and tribulations of a young girl growing up in 1980s martial law-era Taiwan. (CPY-E)