INTERVIEW: Tobie Openshaw on Taiwan’s Sunflowers, Indigenous Rights & Democracy

Videographer Tobie Openshaw on how his experiences in early adulthood shaped his life, his memories of the Sunflower Movement, and his ever-expanding list of projects.

The News Lens
Date: 2019/03/29
By: Cat Thomas

Credit: Supplied by Tobie Openshaw

Tobie Openshaw (歐陽峰) might fairly be described as a stalwart of the foreign community in Taiwan. The 50-something videographer – who has lived in Taiwan for close to 21 years – is a go-to for several international news outlets when it comes to covering Taiwan with work appearing on Al Jazeera (Decriminalizing Sex Work in Taiwan), The Weather Channel (covering various typhoons), The Economist – for whom he recorded an interview with Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) in the early days of the Sunflower occupation – as well as various segments on the BBC, Sky, Discovery and National Geographic Travel, perhaps the most well-known of which was on funeral pole dancers in Changhua County.

Alongside this, Openshaw has a regular day job as a videographer for a private school in Taipei and is involved in myriad side projects: He’s the founder of Taipei Filmmaker Nights, chairman of the board of directors for Taipei art/performance space The Red Room Association, helps out with the Urban Nomad film festival, is involved in organizing the upcoming Burning Man pre-burn event in Yilan and consistently has some ad-hoc projects on the boil – which are often related to film development or indigenous communities in Taiwan.

Openshaw is curating a photo exhibition for the five-year anniversary of the Sunflower Movement which will take place at The Red Room in April. The News Lens caught up with Openshaw to discuss the upcoming exhibition, his experiences as a videographer during the Sunflower Movement and how life in his native South Africa shaped his views of modern Taiwan, and his upcoming projects.    [FULL  STORY]

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