Jul 03 2023


4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Department of Comparative Literature

Department of Comparative Literature

Love Boat: Taiwan – Screening and Discussion with the Director Valerie Soe

 Alvin K. Wong, Assistant Professor, Department of Comparative Literature, HKU

Date: Monday, July 3, 2023
Screening: 4:00 pm (Hong Kong Time)

Discussion: 5:10 pm (Hong Kong Time)
Venue: Face-to-Face

All are welcome. Registration is required.

This presentation examines the creation of Valerie Soe’s 2019 documentary film “Love Boat: Taiwan,” which looks at one of the longest-running cultural immersion programs in the world. The program, which is well-known in the Taiwanese American community, is sponsored by the government of Taiwan and takes place every summer in Taipei. Despite its high-minded aspirations that include classes in Mandarin-language study, martial arts, and brush painting, the program’s popularity stems from another source: its reputation as an excellent place for college-aged Taiwanese Americans to hook up and find romance. Because of this, although it does not take on a ship and is landlocked at a conference center in Taipei, the program is more commonly known by its romantic nickname – the Taiwan Love Boat.

Since its inception in the 1960s the Love Boat has served three purposes: as a propaganda tool for the Taiwanese government, as a site for romance for young Taiwanese Americans, and as a means for Taiwanese American parents to insure the preservation of Taiwanese bloodlines. Every summer this unique form of diplomacy gives young Taiwanese Americans a taste of global politics on an intimate scale. By looking at the ways in which a seemingly innocuous program can have wide-ranging political, social, and cultural repercussions, “Love Boat: Taiwan” explores the intersections of culture, politics, and history.

In addition to discussing and screening the film “Love Boat: Taiwan,” Valerie Soe will also talk about some of her award-winning short experimental films and documentaries that look at the experiences and concerns of Asian Americans.

Valerie Soe – Director, Producer & Writer

Since 1986 Valerie Soe’s experimental videos, installations, and documentary films have won dozens of awards, grants, and commissions and have exhibited at film festivals, museums, and galleries worldwide. Her short experimental video, “ALL ORIENTALS LOOK THE SAME,” won Best International Video at the 1987 Festival Internazionale Cinema Giovani, Torino, Italy, First Place, Experimental Category, at the 1987 Sony Corporation Visions of U.S. Festival, and Honorable Mention, Experimental Video, at the 12th Atlanta Film and Video Festival. Her feature documentary, “Love Boat: Taiwan,” was released in 2019 and won the Audience Award at the Urban Nomad Film Festival In Taipei, Taiwan, and has played to sold-out festival audiences across North America and in Taiwan. Her short experimental documentary, “Radical Care: The Auntie Sewing Squad” (2020), made in collaboration with Kronos Quartet and the Auntie Sewing Squad, won a Director’s Choice Award at the 2021 Thomas Edison Film Festival and the 2021 Best of Bernal Award at Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema. Her writing has been published in books and journals including “Countervisions: Asian American Film Criticism;” “The Palgrave Handbook of Asian Cinema;” “Amerasia Journal,” and “Asian Cinema,” among many others. Soe is the author of the blog (recipient of a 2011 Art Writers’ Grant, Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation), which looks at Asian and Asian American art, film, culture, and activism. She is Professor of Asian American Studies at San Francisco State University.

 Enquiries: Georgina Challen –


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