On the occasion of his film, Take Me to the Moon, screening at the 8th Annual San Diego Asian Film Festival Spring Showcase, we speak with Hsieh Chun-Yi about the film, the 90’s, Chang Yu-sheng, Vivian Sung and Jasper Liu, rom-coms and other topics
Can you tell us about the path that led you to filmmaking? Did you have any studies in the field?
I studied in New York University Tisch School of Arts Asia, the campus is in Singapore. I graduated in 2012.
“Take Me to the Moon” combines the teen rom-com with time travelling. How did this approach came about?
The script writer is Birdy Fong. He is a huge fan of Chang Yu-sheng. He wrote this script several years ago and it won the Silver Prize in The 9th “Filming Taipei” Screenplay Competition in 2014.
The main theme of this story is about following your dreams and first love. If you get a second chance to change the past, would you be able to break her heart to save her life?
The films pays tribute to Chang Yu-sheng. Can you tell us a bit about this concept and your reasons for including it in the film? In general, where do you draw inspiration from, for your movies?
He is a legend in Taiwan. Many singers are influenced by his music. His songs are usually very positive and optimistic. We used 5 of his songs in the movie. Each one fits the corresponding scene and is functional for the plot.
The film takes place in the 90’s mostly. Why did you choose this decade for the film to take place?
I am the same age with the protagonist. So I knows 90’s.
How was your cooperation with Vivian Sung and Jasper Liu?
I think they both are great actors. Vivian is a very talented girl. She had many thoughts about the role. We discussed and came up with a personality for her. I think she did a wonderful job. It’s not easy because she needed to sing, dance and perform at the same time.
Jasper is a warm boy, this is his first lead role in movie. I think he put much efforts in it, which paid off on the screen.
Can you tell us about the locations the film was shot? How was the shooting of the film? Any memorable episodes, good or bad?
The locations are mainly in Taipei. However, Taipei changes a lot. So, for the Ximen Ding scene we build a whole set in the studio, we use a lot of visual effects in the film.
We spend 2 months shooting. We faced 6 typhoons. It was a tough shooting but we made it on schedule. Very impressive work by the crew.
Very frequently, critics seems to snub rom-coms. In your opinion though, what is the value of these kind of films?
I think you have to respect each genre. Rom-coms are very serious for me. To make the audience laugh and also create a touching story is not a easy job.
What is your opinion of Taiwanese cinema at the moment?
Tt is not the worst of time, but close. We have to make better movies and hope audience can give us a chance.
Are there any new projects you have been working on?
I am working on several movie projects. The recently one “SOMEONE LIKE YOU” 《還魂記》was just selected by BIFAN “It Project” this year.