Screening of "Love Boat: Taiwan" with Director's Q&A

Key information

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Virtual Event

About this event

Director Valerie Soe

Film Screening: 19:00 PM-20:00 PM

Q&A Session: 20:05 PM-21:00 PM

As part of the 2020 SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School, we kindly ask that you register to attend .

As well as 7-day online viewing prior to the Q&A session, this film will be live-streamed. If you selected to view this film when filling out the registration form you will receive a link to access online viewing in early July.

This event will be held online through Blackboard Collaborate.

*Please be aware that all Summer School event times follow British Summer Time (BST)


LOVE BOAT: TAIWAN looks at the Overseas Compatriot Youth Study Tour to Taiwan, exploring the history and popularity of this well-known program, which is sponsored by the Taiwanese government and which takes place every summer in Taiwan. Despite its high-minded aspirations that include classes in Mandarin-language study, martial arts, and brush painting, the program’s popularity stems from another source: its reputation as an excellent place for college-aged Taiwanese Americans to hook up and find romance. Because of this, although it does not take on a ship, the program is more commonly known by its romantic nickname – the Taiwan Love Boat.

Since the 1960s the Love Boat has served three purposes: as a political tool for the Taiwanese government, as a place for young Taiwanese Americans to find romance, and as a means for Taiwanese American parents to insure the preservation of their bloodlines. Although officially described as a cultural program, the Love Boat is also a site for romance, friendship, and personal relationships that transcend national borders. By exploring the Love Boat’s significant relationships, LOVE BOAT: TAIWAN explores the way that that the Love Boat gives its participants a taste of global politics on an intimate scale.


Valerie Soe is an award-winning filmmaker, artist, and writer. Since 1986 she has produced more than 22 short films and documentaries that have exhibited at venues such as the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, and the New Museum, on cable and broadcast television, and at film festivals worldwide. Soe is an Associate Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University. Soe’s short experimental video, “ALL ORIENTALS LOOK THE SAME” (1986), which she created while an undergraduate at UCLA, won Best Foreign Video at the 1987 Festival Internazionale Cinema Giovani, Torino, Italy, First Place, Experimental Category, at the 1987 Sony Corporation Visions of U.S. Festival, and Honorable Mention, Experimental Video, at the 12th Atlanta Film and Video Festival. Other awards include Director's Choice Award, Image Film and Video Festival, Atlanta; Best Bay Area Short, San Francisco International Film Festival; Making A Difference Award, Commffest Global Community Film Festival, Toronto; Mediamaker Award, Bay Area Video Coalition; and a Blue Ribbon Award Semi-Finalist, CSU Center for Community Engagement, among others. Her experimental documentary, The Chinese Gardens (2012) was awarded Best Film With An Immigration Theme at the 2013 Humboldt Film Festival. Her most recent film, Love Boat: Taiwan, was released in 2019.

Director's Statement

When I was an undergraduate at UCLA in the 1980s I attended the Taiwan Love Boat. Though I already had an interest in Asian American culture and politics, the concerns of Taiwan meant little to me, a fourth-generation American-born Chinese. On the Love Boat I met my first Asian boyfriend, and in this roundabout way I became more aware of global Asian politics and culture. Although my strongest memories of the experience are of friendship and romance, in its peculiar way the Love Boat inculcated me with a fascination for happenings in Taiwan’s sphere, and to this day I remain interested in the relationship between the U.S., Taiwan, and the PRC. These end results suggest that the Taiwanese government’s laissez-faire attitude toward unsanctioned dancing, partying, and romancing reveals a subtle understanding of the most effective means to instill partisan views in young people. Rather than crack down on the Love Boat’s wilder aspects, the Taiwanese government turns a blind eye to its libertine atmosphere because this aspect of the program attracts huge numbers of impressionable young Chinese Americans and Taiwanese Americans. By leavening its lessons in history and politics with the promise of romantic adventure, the Love Boat is an ingenious example of diplomacy and political persuasion at its best.

Organiser: SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies

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