Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Urban Nomad Film Fest was founded in Taipei in 2002 by two expatriate journalists in Taiwan, David Frazier and Sean Scanlan, and is the only festival in Taiwan that is both fully independent and receives no government funding. The ongoing project is to create a community-oriented film environment and put an end to the impersonal ‘black box’ movie theater environment where hundreds of people can watch films without really interacting with each other. We’ve held our five festivals to date in warehouse or outdoor spaces at Taipei’s Huashan Arts District (2002-2004, 2006), Treasure Hill (2005) and Taipei Artist Village (2007-present). We’ve specially curated film and video programs for art events, including the 2007 Scope Art Fairs in Basel and Miami, the 2008 Taipei Biennial, and Art Taipei 2009. We've also toured with our programs to the Hsinchu Image Museum, small cafes in eastern Taiwan, and Videotage in Hong Kong. Generally, our events have a strong social element (centered around the bar) and a DIY punk rock aesthetic.

Content has been socially motivated, growing with and out of digital and grassroots film movements: underground, alternative, digital, arthouse, DVcam, Flash, and web-based films. In 2005 we showed Martyn See’s Singapore Rebel, a banned film in Singapore about an opposition party candidate who is so sensitive there that after the a respected Western media outlet, the Far Eastern Economic Review, recently interviewed him, the issue was banned by Singapore’s government. But even though we showed this film and will continue to show films like it, we’re not advocating any political positions other than the right for people’s voices to be heard and for debates to take place. Most of our content is in fact light-hearted shorts, and has included everything from professionally produced comedies by Taiwan’s ArcLight production house to amateur skateboard and surf videos.

In 2005 and 2006, Urban Nomad began connecting with festivals and filmmakers in Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and China. This helped us realize that new film networks are happening, and what’s more, they have a lot in common with each other, a lot to share, and a lot they can teach each other. The idea is to think globally and act locally, to realize that Malaysian kids, for example, have a lot to say to Taiwanese kids and vice versa, even though the major networks connecting them now are pop music, Hollywood film, and big media. It doesn’t have to be that way, and that’s one area where we hope to make a difference.

Urban Nomad is almost entirely self-funded. The budget is bare bones. We remain independent and committed to our ideals.

- Festival Directors, David Frazier and Sean Scanlan