‘The Teenage Psychic’, HBO Asia’s first Chinese-speaking series jointly developed with Taiwan’s Public Television Service (PTS) and Singaporean production company IFA Media, is going to premiere on April 2, 2017. A joint premiere press conference is held on March 29 at SPOT Huashan Cinema in Taipei, and joined by the leading cast and co-production team, including Chairperson of PTS, Tchen Yu-Chiou (陳郁秀), and CEO of HBO Asia, Jonathan Spink.
This PTS’s first co-production with HBO Asia was entirely filmed in Taiwan and brought to fruition by a local team, marking a milestone of Taiwan’s drama production industry opening into international collaboration and content market.
The 6-episode drama is about Xiao Zheng (featuring Kuo Shu-Yau), a high-school girl who was born with the ability to see spirits and thus works as psychic in a temple after school to help the living communicate with their beloved ones on the other side. As a 16-year-old teenager, she finds the gift as dismay instead of grace that forces her to live a life beyond her age. After knowing her schoolmate Ah Le, a transfer student with an optimistic personality, however, her life becomes different…
This supernatural coming-of-age drama were directed by 30-year-old rising Taiwanese writer-director, Chen Ho-Yu (陳和榆),whose previous work of short film was selected into PTS Innovative Stories strand and earned wide recognition at home and abroad. Chen said that the story was inspired by the life of a local veteran psychic, Sophiyah Liu, who also worked as a consultant of the drama. Ensuring to present the most authentic local folk religion and psychic powers, Chen insisted on shooting the scenes in Taiwanese dialect, which is spoken by most of local people.
Even though the story is about psychic power, Chen said that the drama’s very essence is still depicting human nature. He hopes the series bring to international audience a chance to learn more of Taiwanese culture and local people’s view of life.
Kuo Shu-Yau (Yau Yau), winner of the 2013 Taiwan’s Golden Horse Award for Best New Performer, takes the lead in the series as the young psychic. The 26-year-old singer-actress perfectly portrays the role who juggles duties with psychic work and school life. She said that it was challenging to her not only because of her unfamiliarity about psychic custom before taking the role, but also her long-standing fear of spirits since childhood. “But I am not afraid of it anymore,” said Yau Yau, “because now I know more of the culture as well as how to get along peacefully with folks on the other side. Moreover, Sophiyah gave a wonderful guidance and sound protection to me during shooting.”
In Chairperson Tchen’s opening remarks in the press conference, she noted that PTS, as the leading public broadcaster of Taiwan, has dedicated itself to engaging with the international media community in every way, with the aim of presenting the island’s cultural and humanistic diversity to the world as well as bringing local talents and creatives to the stage beyond the border. She also thanked HBO Asia and IFA for the joint efforts of making the series come to life, and expressed the hope for more international collaborations in the future.
Founded in 1998, PTS is the pioneering public broadcaster and delivers a wide range of value-added quality programs. In 2016, it was the biggest winner in Golden Bell Awards, an annual local TV production event, and clinched the “Terrestrial Channel of the Year” in the Asian Television Awards held in Singapore.
All six hour-long episodes of the series will debut Sunday night of April 2 at 9 pm on PTS channel in Taiwan and 10 pm on HBO across Asia. More information can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/TheTeenagePsychicHBO/