FILM

Pronunciation and Style Guide
TAYAL is pronounced dah - YAN [hear the title spoken]

When writing the title, please use all caps TAYAL FOREST CLUB.

Director
Laha Mebow [La-HA May-boh] [spoken name]

Community Partner / Associate Producer
Limuy Asien [Lee-moy Ah-shyen] [spoken name]

Producers
Cat Chen, Taylor Hensel, Adam Mazo, Kavita Pillay, Tracy Rector

Synopsis
"Ancestors! We’ve gotten stuck here. Can you help us find the way home?” pleads Yukan, a Tayal teenager lost in the forests of his forefathers.

Bullied at school and weighed down at home by his dad’s drinking, Yukan is eager to escape it all. When his best friend, Watan, invites him on a hike, a physically and emotionally bruised Yukan grabs his machete, and the two boys head into the woods. But this isn’t just any hike, or just any woods — as Yukan and Watan’s youthful overconfidence runs them up against the realities of nightfall in the dense and mountainous Tayal homelands, other forces begin to reveal themselves. Before they can find a way home, these two young Tayal men must first humble themselves enough to learn the lessons that the land itself has to offer.

In TAYAL FOREST CLUB, director Laha Mebow — Taiwan’s first Indigenous female film director and the first Taiwanese and Indigenous filmmaker to win the Golden Horse Award for Best Director — shares a coming-of-age tale that interweaves Tayal characters, settings, and symbols with the complexities arising from her community’s interactions with contemporary society.

Logline
Is getting lost the best way to find yourself? In this coming-of-age tale from Taiwan’s first Indigenous female director, two Tayal youth learn to navigate life’s challenges by paying close attention to lessons that only the land can offer.

About Reciprocity Project
Reciprocity Project is a global storytelling movement supporting Indigenous creatives telling stories of hope, made within their communities, via film, photography, and podcasts.

Technical Specifications
TRT | 18
Aspect Ratio | 16:9
Color
Format | Digital
Audio | 5.1
Language | Atayal, Mandarin
Location | Taiwan - TAYAL FOREST CLUB was filmed in the village and forest of Pyanan. This forest marks the central point from which Tayal ancestors migrated more than a thousand years ago.

FILMMAKERS

Director Biography

As the first Indigenous woman film director from Taiwan, Laha Mebow is best known for feature films focusing on the Tayal community. Her 2022 feature film, GAGA, garnered Laha the coveted best director award at the 2022 Golden Horse Awards, an annual celebration of Chinese language cinema. With it, Laha became the first Taiwanese woman and the first Indigenous director to win the Golden Horse award for best director. Her previous feature, Lokah Laqi! (Hang in There, Kids!) won five awards at the 2016 Taipei Film Awards, including Best Narrative and the Grand Prize. Lokah Laqi! was Taiwan’s submission to the 2017 Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.

Born in Nan-ao, Taiwan to a mother who was a teacher and police officer father, Laha was raised in the bustling city of Taichung. Following her graduation from the Department of Radio, TV and Film at Shih Hsin University, Laha worked in Taiwan’s film industry, including projects by director Tsai Ming-liang. She later joined Taiwan Indigenous Television, where she further honed her writing and production skills and first began learning about her Tayal heritage. In interweaving Tayal characters and settings with the complexities arising from the Tayal community’s interactions with contemporary society, Mebow has compared her approach to filmmaking to Tayal handloom weaving, a demanding skill that Tayal women of earlier generations were required to master.

Prior to her work in narrative features, Laha has produced four documentary films over the past decade, including Ça Fait Si Longtemps, an Austronesian peoples music documentary that explores the connection between Indigenous pop musicians and Kanaky musicians from New Caledonia.

Artist statement

Coming home has always been my source of inspiration for storytelling. As someone who grew up as an "Atayal" in the city, I embarked on this filmmaking journey to rediscover my identity, culture, and heritage. I'm particularly drawn to telling stories through young characters. This story took shape with three central characters: a boy, a hunter, and an alcoholic. The alcoholic figure holds a special place in our community, symbolizing a loss of spirit. Much like the main character in the film, Yukan, in a world where our connections to our origins are increasingly fragmented, many souls can feel shattered. Just like Yukan, I aim to explore how we can find strength by returning home and reclaiming our sense of self.

About Reciprocity Project

In Season Two of this multimedia project, storytellers and community partners created films in response to a question: What does a 'return' to land, language, and reciprocal relationships mean to you and your community? Facing a climate crisis, the Reciprocity Project embraces Indigenous value systems that have bolstered communities since time immemorial. Reciprocity Project invites global Indigenous filmmakers to center Indigenous perspectives about the reciprocal relationship between all beings — seen and unseen — and the lands we inhabit.

COLLABORATORS

Nia Tero is a US-based non-profit working in solidarity with Indigenous peoples and movements worldwide with a mission of securing Indigenous guardianship of vital ecosystems. Nia Tero is committed to an antiracist and inclusive culture centering Indigenous rights, wisdom, practices, worldviews, and protocols.

Upstander Project is a Boston-based non-profit that uses storytelling to amplify silenced narratives, develop upstander skills to challenge systemic injustice, and nurture compassionate, courageous relationships that honor the interconnection of all beings and the Earth. Upstander Project envisions a world rooted in responsibility and respect for all where upstanders confront injustice and repair harm to ensure all beings thrive together.

REI Co-op Studios develops and produces stories that entertain, enrich and explore the power of time spent outside, while complementing the co-op’s broader climate and racial equity, diversity, and inclusion commitments.

PRESS & Acclaim

News

Credits

Coming Soon

For Series Credits please see the Season Two Press Kit

Zipped downloadable full press kit with photos will be available soon.

IMAGES

Yukan sitting at the back of a truck - TAYAL FOREST CLUB

Yukan and Watan walking across a farm reservoir.

Yukan and Watan standing in the forest.

Yukan and Watan crossing a river.

TAYAL FOREST CLUB Community Partner Limuy Asien

TAYAL FOREST CLUB Director Laha Mebow

Filming of TAYAL FOREST CLUB

Filming of TAYAL FOREST CLUB

Filming of TAYAL FOREST CLUB

Filming of TAYAL FOREST CLUB

CONNECT

Website | Reciprocity.org

Social Media | @reciprocityproj | Instagram | Facebook

Podcast | Seedcast

Press Contact | press@reciprocity.org

Updated | November 22, 2023