To encourage more people to engage themselves in film creation, the Kaohsiung Film Archive offers subsidies under “Kaohsiung Shorts” for short films that incorporate Kaohsiung’s local features. Every year eight short films are selected and awarded NT$1,000,000, respectively. Among the eight short films selected this year, one was created by Sheng-Tsung Hsu, a fresh graduate of the Department of Film and Television under the College of Communication and Design. Based on his family background, Hsu depicted his emotional entanglement with his father, a fisherman. His brilliant creation, The Same, not only outshone many experienced experts and stars with the most potential but also helped him make an unprecedented record for being the youngest director to win this massive subsidy.
After knowing that he had won the subsidy, Hsu was nearly in tears because he knew how hard the journey was. Hsu, born and raised in Kaohsiung, originally majored in information communication at a university in the middle of Taiwan. However, working in the film and TV industry has been a dream for him. Therefore, he wanted to transfer to ISU, the only university in southern Taiwan with a film and television department. Fortunately, he took a transfer exam during the summer vacation before becoming a sophomore and successfully entered the Department of Film and Television at ISU. In The Same, Hsu connected the story with the description of the distant-water fishing industry in Kaohsiung and the portrait of his family relationships. Writing the script was one of many things troubling him during his creation. Another obstacle he could not surmount was the barrier between him and his father. Fortunately, as he started to shoot the film, he better understood the distant-water fishing industry, and he was willing to accept the past and mend fences with his father.
The Same depicts an estranged relationship between a son and a father, a fisherman working in Kaohsiung, the hub of the distant-water fishing industry. In the end, the son tried to rebuild the relationship with his father whenever his father returned from the sea. In real life, Hsu learned about the bitterness and helplessness of other fishermen when writing the script, and then he talked with his father with open-mindedness and further cleared up their misunderstanding. He was grateful to Prof. Chih-Chiang Li and Prof. Neng-Yuan Ke for their encouragement. In addition, he appreciated the study circle for creative proposals held every Monday night at ISU because this was where he found inspiration.
The best nutrition for creation is abundant life experiences. Hsu indicated that although accumulated experience leads to fruitful creation, guidance from professional instructors is more important to emerging film directors. Thus, he truly appreciated Dr. Kuo-Fu Chang, the Chair of the Department of Film and Television, Prof. Yun-Chi Huang, Prof. Yi-Jyun Ou, and Prof. Chia-Wei Chen. Hsu plans to start shooting The Same this November, and he will invite underclassmen of the Department of Film and Television to work with him and glow together in the film and TV industry.