Cast: Ella Chen, Umin Boya
Official Selection, 2021 Taipei Film Festival
Opening and Closing Film, 2021 Hong Kong Kids International Film Festival
There are notes, and there are songs. One is singular, piercing the air alone; the other, a composition that weaves together many as it moves and unfolds across time to tell a story. For the indigenous Bunun people of Jiu Pu Elementary School, nestled high up in Taiwan’s mountains, it’s not the individual, but the group that saves them through the collective power of song. When the administrators hear that the school might close because it offers “nothing special,” they are spurred into action. Their idea? To take advantage of the Bunun singing tradition with a children’s choir that travels to compete. Luckily, a new substitute teacher, Miss Huang (pop star Ella Chen), has just arrived to teach music. When local hero, gym teacher Bukut (played by Umin Boya), shows a hidden musical ability, he is named the conductor, and the team is complete.
Based on the real-life story of Vox Nativa Taiwanese Foundation choir, LISTEN BEFORE YOU SING is an uplifting film about how an indigenous village, on the brink of disappearance, is revived by a new generation that infuses their heritage with fresh hope. In a world where many leave behind their humble beginnings for bigger and better things, it’s heartwarming to see the two leaders’ dedication to honoring and caring for their small but mighty group of children. Though there are many obstacles, from bees to avalanches and the adults’ own insecurities, the choir’s perseverance pays off when their voices soar with the kind of spirit that breaks open in those who face their greatest challenges with all of their heart.
Co-Presented by Bayha Group.