There’s a new Indigogo fundraising for a documentary about the “Love Boat” – titled “Before Tinder, there was the Taiwan Love Boat”– asking for contributions of $20 to $5,000, with various levels of rewards for your level of contribution. And for a limited time (until the Indiegogo campaign reaches $14,000), those contributions will be matched by an anonymous donor
As I had blogged about before, when I first started writing for 8Asians, I wondered until how long it would be that I would be writing about the “Love Boat” (as well as another 8Asians blogger did as well). For those who aren’t Chinese or Taiwanese American (or even if you are), the “Love Boat” is a Taiwanese government sponsored Chinese language and cultural study tour of Taiwan for overseas Chinese and Taiwanese, from the U.S. and Canada as well as from what I recall, a separate European one.
The program started in the late 1960s and started to have a growing reputation more for fun and sometimes for a few, love, and its popularity started to gain during the popularity of the American television show the Love Boat (which debuted in 1977). I’ve also thought the nickname kind of came about while looking at Taiwan on a map, which is sort of a shape of a boat from looking from above, that is in an ocean.
From the documentary press release I received:
“[Filmmaker Valerie] Soe observes, “The Taiwanese government used the Love Boat to get political support from Taiwanese and Chinese American and Canadian college kids, their parents used the trip to try to continue their bloodlines, and the kids used the trip to party and find romance for six weeks in Taiwan. It was a win-win-win situation for everyone concerned.”
A while back, I had seen a newly created Facebook page for the making of the Love Boat documentary – that was using my Study Tour ID card! That is when I contacted the Facebook page administrator to please remove my photo for her Facebook page’s profile photo! Recently, I got a chance to speak over the phone with the Soe and her Indiegogo fundraing campaign.
Soe and her family will be spending the summer in Taiwan on a Fulbright Fellowship and use the funds to do key interviews with the Taiwanese government officials who dreamed up and organized the Love Boat, the local counselors who worked on the Love Boat, and the Taiwanese American and Chinese American ex-pats whose summer on the Love Boat convinced them to move to Asia. She’s also going to shoot this year’s edition of the Love Boat in Taiwan – which has apparently been scaled down in size and length since its peak (down to 3 weeks instead of 6 weeks) and officially known as the Expatriate Youth Taiwan Study Tour.
She also mentioned she’d like to do the documentary focused on the perspectives of those Taiwanese and Chinese Americans that had attended as well as their parents and both of their motivations for attending.
Unfortunately, given her busy academic schedule and other obligations, as well as of course doing primary research and interviews, Soe doesn’t anticipate the documentary coming out until some time in 2018. That is one thing that I’ve always been hesitant about in regards to funding Kickstarter or Indigogo or other crowd-sourced campaigns – the delivery date upon any project is often a long way off, and I’m an impatient person!
I’m really glad Soe is producing this documentary – I think it is a critical piece of understand the Taiwanese (and to a degree the Chinese) American experience. Given the short history of Taiwanese American history – which I believe predominately started in the early-to-mid-1960s, the Love Boat is a shared experience or acknowledged by a great number of folks that should be documented.
For more information about the documentaryBefore Tinder, there was the Taiwan Love Boat:
I can’t wait to contribute to the film and eventually watch it!