People’s Republic of Desire, the winner of the Grand Jury Award for Best Documentary Feature at SXSW, is the untold story of China’s live-streaming economy, and the search for fame, fortune and human connection in a virtual world. The documentary directed by technology executive-turned-filmmaker Hao Wu, will be released in theaters on November 30.
In an increasingly digital universe where live streamers earn as much as $200,000 a month, can virtual relationships replace real-life human connection? People’s Republic of Desire tells the stories of two such online stars who have risen from isolation to fame and fortune on NASDAQ-listed YY, China’s largest live streaming platform.
Live-streaming showrooms have become virtual gathering places for hundreds of millions – from the super rich who lavish these online stars with digital gifts, to poor migrant workers who exhaust meager savings idolizing them. All of these characters are brought together in a series of bizarre online talent competitions, where they discover that happiness in their virtual world may be as elusive as in the real one.