The Home Promised Logo

A Documentary that Asks

where & why we belong

家位何, 何為家


Previous Screening

Asian Pacific American Film - APA Film

APRIL 19 5:30 PM @ US Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Closing Night Program

2014 American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund

March 27 9:00 pm @ Camelot Theatres, Palm Springs, USA
Official Sellection


March 15 12:10 pm @ Sundance Kabuki Cinema, San Francisco, USA
March 17 5:45 pm @ Sundance Kabuki Cinema, San Francisco, USA
"The Home Promised" Shorts

2014 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

November 10 2014, 1pm @ AGO Jackman Hall, Toronto, Canada
"Rewind, Pause, Play" Shorts Program

The Film

Taipei, like many global cities in Asia, is in the middle of an unprecedented quest for urban redevelopment. As land in the city center becomes more and more valuable, the city has played a significant role in paving over inner-city neighbourhoods with modern structures made out of glass and steel -- all in the name of “urban renewal”. But here, Taipei’s rapidly changing urban landscape belies the very real human costs of expropriation.

Directed by emerging Chinese Canadian filmmaker Betty Xie, The Home Promised is a short documentary film that takes us to the heart of one of the last “illegally-constructed” neighbourhoods in downtown Taipei soon to be torn down. With its earliest buildings dating back to the Japanese colonial period, the neighbourhood was later settled by loyal Kuomintang soldiers who fled mainland China after 1949, as well as rural migrants who desired to find jobs in the city. Through its architecture, people, history, and collective memory, the Shaoxing neighbourhood is not only a reflection of Taipei’s current growth and urban history, but also a self-enclosed world within the city center.

Shot with a distinct cinema verite style, The Home Promised centers on Wang Chang-biao, the leader of the local residents’ association, and his struggles to help chart a permanent solution for the neighbourhood. Juxtaposed with shots into the everyday life of the residents, the film follows Wang through a visit to a potential relocation site and heated citizens’ meetings. It is during this process of dealing with an uncertain future, that the residents begin to see each other as part of a shared community.

Candid and moving, The Home Promised depicts the fight for relocation as an integral part of community-formation, calling into question where and why we belong.

The Shaoxing Neighbourhood

The Shaoxing Neighbourhood is located at the heart of Zhongzheng District in Taipei (surrounded by Shaoxing South Street, Xinyi Road, Linsen South Road and Renai Road), approximately a ten-minute walking distance from the National Taiwan University. Living in the neighbourhood are largely soldiers who followed the Kuomintang (KMT) party to flee from mainland China in the early 1950s. In August 2010, the residents received an unexpected letter from the National Taiwan University (NTU), suing them for illegal occupation of land, demanding monetary compensation, and forcing them to relocate.

To date, although negotiations between both sides are still on-going, the case has not been settled yet because of the historical complexities of the situation. Students and NGOs have actively protested on behalf of the Shaoxing residents, in hopes that the current KMT government properly addresses the issue.

Quick facts about the Shaoxing Neighbourhood

  • 31% of the residents are seniors over 65, and 65% of the seniors live alone
  • There are currently 170 residents in the neighbourhood, and the average duration of residency is 33 years
  • NTU has not used the land for more than 60 years
  • In 2011, an online organization lobbying for the neighbourhood was initiated by students from NTU and has now gathered more than 7100 likes on Facebook
  • In November 2012, with the aid of student activists, the neighbourhood organized its first hunger strike
  • In October 2013, NTU agreed to lower the amount of monetary compensation to 1%, but concerns over proper relocation measures still lingers


直至今天,由於此地的特殊歷史背景,雖然臺大與社區兩方多次進行調解,案件還未完滿解決。 學生和非政府組織仍不懈地爲紹興居民組織抗議,渴求在任的國民黨政府正視這個社會問題,早日提供合理的解決方案。


  • 31%的居民為65歲以上的長者,其中65%為獨居老人
  • 社區內現有170名居民,平均居住期為33年
  • 國立臺灣大學已有超過六十年沒有動用此地
  • 2011年,臺大學生自發成立了「紹興學程@紹興社區」網上組織,直至今日其臉書主頁已有超過7100個“讚“
  • 2012年11月,在學生的幫助下,紹興社區組織了第一次絕食抗爭。

The Crew

Betty Xie

Director / Co-Producer

David Wang


Jessie Lau

Director of Photography

Lisa Qiu

Co-Producer / Public Relation Director

Yang Zeng

Marketing & Production Manager


Cinema Studies and Asia Pacific Studies Major at the University of Toronto

Director, Girlfriends (2013), Unsung Voices Youth Shorts Program at the 2013 Reel Asian Film Festival

Director, Untag Taiwan (2012), a student documentary screened at the Asian Institute in Oct. 2012


How did you get involved with this documentary?

This project is inspired from a chance encounter I had visiting the Shaoxing neighbourhood with my research teammate when we were in Taipei to observe the 2012 Presidential Election. We revisited the neighbourhood in early 2013, and the experience of the residents still lingers in my mind. Given the opportunity, how can i walk away from telling their story?

Where/what is “home” for you?

I drifted from Guangzhou to Vancouver to Toronto. For me, “home” is always in future tense: we pursue it, for tomorrow.


I study at the University of Toronto, but in my spare time I like to gallivant across Asia, explore literary worlds, or navigate gastronomic landscapes.


How did you get involved with this documentary?

Last summer, I interned at a television broadcasting company in Taipei where I fell in love with the city. Thus, I could not pass up the opportunity to tell a story about “belonging” in Taiwan, which is something my family is quite familiar with.

Where/what is “home” for you?

In a bowl of noodles (tonkotsu ramen, pho, wonton noodles, udon, oyster vermicelli …), or anything my grandma makes!


I’m in my last semester at the University of Toronto and I dabble in photography. I’m constantly picking up projects outside of school and I'm blessed to have friends who push me to challenge my creative limits.


How did you get involved with this documentary?

I have been involved with all of Betty’s film projects in different capacities and I convinced her that she needs me in this.

Where/what is “home” for you?

I was born and raised in Hong Kong and I moved to Toronto with my parents at 14. Anywhere with my parents and a WiFi connection is home.


Recently completed Political Science & Cinema Studies double major from University of Toronto and determined to devote remaining living and awake hours to the infinite realm of creativity. As a relatively newcomer to filmmaking, I made my feeble first attempt at making a thriller short called Elude (2012) for the Unsung Voices Youth Shorts Program at Toronto’s Reel Asian Film Festival 2012. It left me very confused yet increasingly intrigued about filmmaking, and curiosity, is quite fatal.


How did you get involved with this documentary?

By tirelessly nagging the director.

Where/what is “home” for you?

No where, but can be anywhere. Like ‘nostalgia’, to me, it is almost an imaginary and merely a relative concept.


Graduated from University of Toronto Scarborough with double major in computer science and new media studies. Current working as website developer, I am always passionate about film and culture. I am in the marketing community for Reel Asian Film Festival for the past two years.


How did you get involved with this documentary?

I told Betty and David if they won the pitch, I will help them to make this documentary. I have found this project is a once a lifetime opportunity to reach a dream that I always have.

Where/what is “home” for you?

Home is where my culture can be practiced, expressed, and respected.

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