Before Tinder, there was the Taiwan Love Boat

Valerie Soe is making a documentary about the legendary Taiwanese cultural program, aka "Love Boat."

They're making a film about the legendary Love Boat. And I'm not talking about the TV show.

In the late 1960s, the Taiwanese government established the Study tour to Taiwan as an outreach program to Chinese American and Taiwanese American youth. While it was touted as a cultural enrichment program, it became notorious among Chinese American and Taiwanese American college students as an excellent place to hook up and find romance. Hence, its more commonly referred nickname: "Love Boat."

Since its inception, the Love Boat has served three purposes: 1) As a political tool for the Taiwanese government. 2) As a way for Chinese and Taiwanese American parents to insure the preservation of their bloodlines. 3) And as a place for young Chinese and Taiwanese Americans to find romance.

No actual boat involved.

Veteran filmmaker Valerie Soe, who attended the Taiwan Love Boat as an undergraduate, is now making a documentary about the program. She's been actively researching and shooting interviews for the past three years, and will spend this summer in Taiwan on a Fulbright Fellowship to work on the film.

To make the most of her trip, she's currently raising production funds on Indiegogo in support of the project. Here's a video with some more information:

That vintage footage of what I presume is a Love Boat recruitment video is kind of amazing.

Of course, the filmmaker assures us that it wasn't all hookups and hormones (though there probably was plenty of that). "Although my strongest memories of the trip are of friendship and romance, on the Love Boat I became interested in learning more about Asia in general and Taiwan in particular," she says. "I've always wanted to make a film about the Love Boat."

Valerie hopes to spend the summer interviewing the government officials who dreamed up and organized the Love Boat, the local counselors who worked on the Love boat, and the Taiwanese American and Chinese American ex-pats whose summer of the Love Boat convinced them to move to Asia. She'll also be shooting the current version of the Love Boat that still takes place in Taiwan almost every summer.

The goal is to raise $50,000. Maybe this is your first time hearing about Love Boat, or perhaps you still have fond memories of your own Taiwanese summer romance, or maybe you're just plain curious, you can help bring this film closer to completion. For further information, and to make a contribution to the project, visit the Love Boat: Taiwan Indiegogo campaign page.


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