Awards: Best Documentary, Grand Jury Award, SXSW 2018 Film Awards
“As an entire generation has come of age on social media, virtual relationships are slowly replacing real-life human connections. And China has taken it to an extreme. This is the People’s Republic of Desire.”
A documentary film 4 years in the making. 7 months of creative direction and animation production. Filmed deep in China by award-winning film director Hao Wu. World Premiere @ SXSW 2018
[ SELECT FRAMES: CONCEPT + PRODUCTION ]
[ FILM SYNOPSIS ]
In a digital universe where live streamers earn as much as $200K a month, can virtual relationships replace real-life human connection? People’s Republic of Desire is an animated documentary film which tells the stories of two such online stars who’ve risen from isolation to fame and fortune in China. The film takes us on a vérité journey through their live streaming showrooms, which have become virtual gathering places for hundreds of millions – from the super rich who lavish performers with digital gifts, to poor migrant workers who worship them. The characters are brought together in a series of bizarre online idol competitions, where they discover that happiness in their virtual world may be as elusive as in the real one.
[ ENGAGEMENT ]
Director Hao Wu hoped to bring a futuristic dystopian edge to his documentary film: “People’s Republic of Desire” and brought Eric Jordan on board the film production in order to oversee and implement all graphical, VFX, and animation related elements of the film, including: creative direction, graphic design, visual effects, compositing, camera tracking, and motion graphics. Reflecting on the literary works of futurist author William Gibson such as Mona Lisa Overdrive and Idoru in which virtual stars are a kind of cultural phenomenon, Eric set out to bring a sort of psychedelic pop-culture dystopian virtuality to the look of the film elements. Eric worked directly with the director and created a streamlined visual effects pipeline in order to achieve the animation and rendering of over 200 shots over the course of 7 months of production. Seeking to highlight the dystopic virtual universe that the online stars inhabit, the director relied on Eric to create a highly stylised digital 3D version of the online streaming chat rooms. A series of custom digital avatars, gifts, icons, and other elements were designed and refined according to the Hao’s vision. Additionally, Eric helped create numerous iterated concepts of various showroom and digital universe environments until the director’s vision was achieved. Each showroom was then animated in 3D space, in synchronicity with the film narrative, including dialogue and chat-room action in order to move the story forward. In order to demonstrate the bleeding of the digital universe over into reality, Eric also developed a series of augmented reality (AR) shots that track synthetically projected elements over particular footage plates. Finally, Eric was tasked with the production of the animated opening title and end title sequences according to storyboards developed by the director, and the film went on to it’s first world premiere at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival in Austin Texas. For more information about “People’s Republic of Desire”, visit the official website at https://www.desire.film ,the SXSW film schedule page. or the official IMDB page.
Director: Hao Wu
Executive Producer: Jean Tsien, Sally Jo Fifer
Producer: Hao Wu
Cinematographer: Hao Wu
Editor: Hao Wu
Sound Designer: Ron Bachar
Music: Michael Tuller
Principal Cast: Shen Man, Li Xianliang, Jiang Congyong
Animation & VFX: Eric Jordan
Co-producer: Xin Liu Consulting Editor: Nanfu Wang Consulting Producer: Alison Klayman
Hao Wu has directed and produced four feature documentaries, that have received support from Ford Foundation JustFilms, CAAM, ITVS, Sundance Institute and international broadcasters. He is currently a fellow at the New America Foundation.