Directors’ Fortnight Film ‘Mongrel’ Picked up by Alpha Violet newsbhunt

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Paris-based sales company Alpha Violet has come on board as representative of “Mongrel,” the debut feature of Taiwan-based Singaporean filmmaker Chiang Wei Liang. The film will have its world premiere next month at Cannes in the Directors Fortnight section.

Set in the mountains of Taiwan, “Mongrel” stars Thai actor Wanlop Rungkumjad (“Eternity,” “Manta Ray”) as Oom, an undocumented migrant and on-demand caregiver for rural families, who struggles to preserve his humanity as he cares for the elderly and disabled.

Rungkumjad is joined by newcomer Kuo Shu-wei, who plays Hui, a patient with whom Oom develops a bond. On hearing of the film’s Cannes selection, Kuo said, “I never thought this film would have the opportunity to be seen by so many people. As I live with athetoid cerebral palsy, we worked hard to achieve this. Hui is a character whose abilities are weaker than mine, so I thought of the friends I’ve met and used them as reference for the character.”

Chiang and producer Lai Weijie said, “The team is trying our very best to make it possible for [Kuo] Shu-wei to be at the premiere with us and watch this film together in its first screening to the world.”

Other key cast for “Mongrel” include Lu Yi-ching (“The River,” “Stray Dogs”), Hong Yu-hong (“Bad Education,” “Miss Shampoo”), and Atchara Suwan (“By the Time it Gets Dark”).

Some 15 minutes of the film were screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in January, where it showed as a work-in-progress. It was previously developed at TorinoFilmLab ScriptLab, Talents Tokyo and the Cannes Residence, where it received the CNC Development Award.

“Mongrel” is produced by Lai and Elizabeth Wijaya from E&W Films, Lynn Chen and Chu Yun-ting for Taiwan’s Le Petit Jardin, and Marie Dubas from France’s Deuxième Ligne Films (“Taste,” “Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell”). Executive producers include Taiwan New Wave vanguards Hou Hsiao-hsien and Liao Ching-sung, who were on board the project since its inception.

E&W Films and Deuxième Ligne Films are also co-producers on the Cannes Un Certain Regard selection “Việt and Nam” by Trương Minh Quý.

“We are truly honored to present Chiang Wei Liang’s debut feature film. His short films have been acclaimed at major festivals including Berlin and Venice, and now his journey continues in Cannes. ‘Mongrel’ is for us a pure cinematic discovery – it gives such a powerful voice and humanity to the invisible ones,” said Virginie Devesa of Alpha Violet.

Chiang graduated from the Nanyang Technological University with a degree in Communication Studies and completed his MFA (Film Directing) at the Taipei National University of the Arts. Based in Taiwan for the past decade, his work focuses on migration and diaspora of Southeast Asians in modern Asia.
Chiang’s 2015 film, “Anchorage Prohibited” received the Audi Short Film Award at the 2016 Berlinale. His recent short films “Luzon,” “Nyi Ma Lay” (both from 2017) and the VR short film “Only the Mountain Remains” – in competition at the 2018 Venice Film Festival – continue his commentary on the difficult lives of migrants.

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