Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above (看見台灣) is a 2013 aerial photography documentary film which documents Taiwan's environment from a completely different point of view. It is directed by aerial photographer Chi Po-lin and produced by Hou Hsiao-hsien, with narration by Wu Nien-jen. The film opened on November 1, 2013 and broke the Taiwan box office records for the largest opening weekend and the highest total gross of a locally produced documentary. The film was nominated for Best Documentary and Best Original Film Score at the 50th Golden Horse Awards, winning the best documentary category.
Consisting of purely aerial footage, Beyond Beauty: Taiwan from Above is the
first film documenting Taiwan and its environmental conditions. It sheds light on
the picturesque island from an altitude and angle never before seen. Landforms
emerge into characters as real as the animals and farmers that feed off the planet
as we explore the mysterious ways nature works in."
Director, CHI Po-Lin, started as a professional photographer in 1988, and in 1990 he served as an aerial photographer in a government agency, recording the construction process of Taiwan's various major projects. In 2004,he received the first prize award of the Johnnie Walker Keep Walking Foundation’s dream project, and in 2005 was invited by ORBIS Foundation as the "Flying Eye Hospital" mission spokesman to Xinjiang, China. During his own spare time, he devotes himself to public welfare, committed to recording Taiwan’s environmental landscape through aerial photography. Having accumulated nearly 2000 flight hours in over 20 years, CHI has documented more than 40,000 aerial photos.After Typhoon Morakot brutally hit Taiwan in 2009, he quit his government job. and began a journey of making Taiwan’s first aerial cinematography documentary.
Mr. Chi's efforts in this project has cost him an immense amount of time and money. In order to complete the project, Mr. Chi had to invest money of his own by financing his personal home. Needless to say, the importance of protecting his equipment and work product is quite high.