Long Time No Sea

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Taiwan | 2018 | 97 minutes | Heather Tsui

In this box-office smash from Taiwan, a young island boy yearning to see his father again and a rookie teacher come together to train for an Indigenous dance competition that will bring them closer to their dreams.

"Heather Tsui's impressive debut tells an uplifting, family-friendly tale from the indigenous Tao community of Taiwan."—Variety

Manawei, a sweet, clever, and empathetic young boy, lives with his doting grandmother on Orchid Island, southeast of Taiwan, where the two search for ripe fruit in the trees. His mother has passed away, and his father works in Taiwan. Chung-hsun, meanwhile, is a 30-something teacher who comes from the city to work with the indigenous community, using dance to help them get in touch with their own potential as well as their traditions. As the two come together, perhaps they and their dance troupe can make it all the way to the National Aboriginal Dance Competition. Long Time No Sea, based on the experiences of director Heather Tsui's involvement with the Little Flying Fish Cultural Exhibition Dance Troupe and the children of the Yami people, is full of gentle humor and themes of cultural identity, the visual style capturing the island's beauty as well as the energy of the children in tightly framed shots. And of course there is a double meaning to the film's title: a nod of appreciation to the surrounding sea as well as Manawei's longing for his father's attention.

— Maryna Ajaja

Director Biography
The debut film Long Time No Sea is based on director/writer/editor Heather Tsui's own experience with the Little Flying Fish Cultural Exhibition dance troupe and the children of Orchid Island.

Sponsored by Taiwan Academy in Los Angeles, Ministry of Culture Taiwan, 425 Magazine, Cathay Pacific Airways Limited, The Seattle Times

  • Original Language Title: 只有大海知道
  • Director: Heather Tsui
  • Principal Cast: Shang He-huang, Zhong Jia-jun, Feng Ying-li
  • Country: Taiwan
  • Year: 2018
  • Running Time: 97 minutes
  • Producer: Chen Pao-ying
  • Screenplay: Heather Tsui
  • Cinematographers: Ching-Yao Liao
  • Editors: Heather Tsui
  • Music: Cincin Lee
  • Awards: Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival 2018 (Best New Performer)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Mandarin
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • Format: DCP
  • International Sales: Swallow Wings