Tuesday, June 16, 2009

4 fascinating stories about Taiwan to be told in 34 languages on National Geographic Channel

By Nancy T. Lu
Four new exciting documentaries – “Typhoon Hunters,” “River Quest,” “Hip Hop Nation” and “Tomb Raptors” – will tell amazing Taiwan stories to the world when they air on the National Geographic Channel.

When a typhoon strikes and everyone else is safely waiting out the destructive force of the storm at home, a team sets out, taking big risks by flying into the eye of the typhoon to gather important meteorological information. Such mission, which inevitably entails getting caught in big air turbulence, is very dangerous. Chasing no less than 31 typhoons (including six for this particular documentary) with fastened seatbelt and in a badly shaking aircraft makes a pilot truly experienced in dealing with the unknown. This is the story of “Typhoon Hunters.”

Nature explorer Ah-da appears undaunted by the odds of conquering Taiwan’s great altitude and overcoming risks such as negotiating a treacherous boulder-strewn rushing stream. In a beautifully documented story set against Taiwan’s awesome mountain scenery, the bonding between a man and his pet dog, Lively, stands out to warm hearts. This is what “River Quest” is all about.

Hip hop, Taiwan style, travels from Taichung to Los Angeles in “Hip Hop Nation.” A group of dancers from Taiwan allows a crew to follow them around and document their raw experience. At the end of the day, these men and women grasp the importance of attitude. (See video.)

“Tomb Raptors” is about the migratory birds called the grey-faced buzzards. The avian visitors show up without fail in Taiwan during the tomb-sweeping period, taking a usual route and then leaving the island not long after. The raptors fly in not one by one but in big flocks with leaders, attracting many international birdwatchers to Taiwan shore. .A local bird lover rescues a wounded bird, attaches a sensor to it and then sets it free to be able to scientifically monitor its migratory pattern and behavior.

The new “Taiwan to the World” series done by different production teams, sometimes involving foreign professionals, can be said to be a continuation of the collaboration between the National Geographic Channel and the Government Information Office in Taiwan.

“The ‘Taiwan to the World’ program has enhanced the mission of the National Geographic Society,” said Jeffrey Daniels, senior vice president for development and production of the National Geographic Channels International.

The series of four new documentaries, starting with "Typhoon Hunters," will have a premiere telecast at 9 p.m. on Sunday, June 21, on the National Geographic Channel. Viewers in 165 countries will eventually be able to watch them in 34 languages.

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