Voices of Orchid Island: film screening and discussion in memory of Dr. Hu Tai-li

Key information

6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Brunei Gallery
Event type
Summer school

About this event

Futuru Tsai & Eliana Ritts

As part of the 2022 SOAS Centre of Taiwan Studies Summer School, we kindly ask that you register to attend .

*Please be aware that this session follows British Summer Time (BST) .

Also available via Microsoft Teams


The film opens with a group of anti-nuclear activists, a Bunun doctor and a Han Chinese anthropologist sitting on a seashore, exchanging their motivation for participating in the film. The film then breaks into three parts. The first part reveals the Yami’s (Tao's) opposition to tourism as Indigenous people react negatively to the unhealthy attitudes from Han Chinese tourist guides and tourists. The second part documents a Bunun volunteer doctor’s observation and reflection of the Yami’s (Tao's) anxiety and confusion when traditional culture and modern medicine collide. Lastly, two young local activists speak directly to the camera of their reasons to protest against the dumping of nuclear waste on Orchid Island. The film ends with Yami(Tao) people posing in “Manhawey”, a traditional gesture to boost morale by showing anger, followed by songs of blessing for Orchid Island.

Through cross-cutting, the various views and conflicts between these three groups of people are presented with stark immediacy. The film is highly reflective of the Indigenous peoples' ever-present conundrum as it addresses the cultural confusion, adjustment and conflict apparent when different communities come into contact.

Film description courtesy of the Taiwan Ministry of Culture

Speakers' Bio

Futuru C.L. Tsai is an associate professor of Ph.D. Program in Austronesian Studies at National Taitung University in Taiwan. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology in 2010 from National Tsing Hua University and has researched Indigenous Taiwanese arts, culture, and history. He is the author of The Anthropologist Germinating from the Rock Piles (石堆中發芽的人類學家) (2009) and From Dulan to New Guinea (從都蘭到新幾內亞) (2011). He is also an ethnographic filmmaker whose work includes Amis Hip Hop (2005), From New Guinea to Taipei (2009), The New Flood (2010), Wings for Takasago Giyutai (2017), and Lives and Deaths between Ebbs and Flows (2019). His recent research interests are Amis maritime culture and the influences of regional revitalization policy on Amis People and making an ethnographic film entitled "Breathing Between."

Eliana Ritts is a Fulbright Scholar and PhD Candidate in Anthropology at New York University, interested in the relationships between media, sovereignty, and politics of representation. She is currently writing her dissertation on Indigenous media in Taiwan, centered around Taiwan Indigenous Television. In 2019 she produced and directed Tea for Taiwan, a documentary that looks at the relationship between bubble tea and self-determination across three generations of Taiwanese-American activists in New York City. She also is a board member and co-curator at the City Reliquary Museum in New York, and served on the selection committee for the 2021 Taiwan International Ethnographic Film Festival.

Organiser: Centre of Taiwan Studies

Contact email: hl55@soas.ac.uk

Sponsor: Taiwan Ministry of Culture & Taiwan Cinema Toolkit