Seqalu: Formosa 1867, docudrama on American expedition to Taiwan to begin screening August 14

A 12-part docudrama based on a novel set around real historical events involving an American punitive expedition in Taiwan in the mid-19th century will go to air on PTS August 14.

The TV drama produced by Taiwan Public Television Service (PTS) took 3 years to make with 135 days of filming on location in Pingtung County, and other areas of Taiwan.

PTS chose March 12 to make the announcement on screening dates as the day marked the 154th anniversary of the Rover incident, when 14 shipwrecked sailors from an American merchant vessel were massacred by Formosan aboriginals of the Paiwan ethnic group.

The incident resulted in a punitive expedition around which the docudrama is based.

Along with the March 12 announcement, a 6:40 minute preview was released on YouTube.

Directed by Jui Yuan Tsao (曹瑞原), the docudrama explores the complex interplay between various ethnic groups residing on Taiwan at the time, and those coming from abroad.

Multiple languages are spoken representing various indigenous Formosan, Chinese settler groups, and the English of the expeditioners. Some of the lead actors had to brush up on multiple languages to play their roles.

The main female lead role “Butterfly Girl,” played by Wen Chen-ling was particularly challenging. Wen had to show proficiency in the Paiwan, English, Hakka, and Hokkien languages, along with horse riding and archery skills.

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