People’s Republic of Desire
Winner of the SXSW Documentary Grand Jury Prize, this portrait of livestream superstars plays out like the plot of a lost Black Mirror episode. Livestreaming has emerged as a new mass culture in China, where marginally talented superstars earn millions from devoted fans. People’s Republic of Desire takes us on a journey through the livestreaming showrooms, following Shen Man and Big Li, high-earning pseudo-celebrities worshipped by the obscenely rich and the poor working class alike. The characters come together for 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.