• Alysa Salzberg

How one couple’s quarantine project won an award…in another language

One of the few good things about quarantine is that’s spurred many people to take on projects they might not otherwise have tried.


This is the case for Scott Saulters. To fight off the quarantine blues, he and his partner Patty Zhu, a Taiwanese theater actress, decided to make a short film. Then, they’d enter the film in the contest with the closest deadline.


It turns out that this was the Bi Tian Iann Short Film Contest. One of the rules was that entries had to have 80% of their dialogue in Hoklo, the local language of Taiwan. Although Saulters has lived in Taiwan for 15 years and speaks fluent Mandarin, he’s not proficient in Hoklo. Still, he gave it a shot, relying on the similarities between the languages and Zhu’s fluency in Hoklo to help him write the script. The project became a true collaboration.


And it paid off: Not only did it keep the couple busy and distracted during these difficult times, but the film won first place in the contest’s amateur category.


Read on to learn more about the process of creating a film in quarantine, in a language you don’t speak.



The film’s official poster

(Image source)




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