The Dallas Movie Screening Group

This is the homepage of the Dallas Movie Screening Group. To join our mailing list you must sign up at our group page on Yahoo. You will then be connected to receive notices on how to find passes to the local screenings in the DFW area. It's up to you to pickup or sign up for passes. You can also barter, trade or just giveaway passes you don't want, need or share with other members of the group. Please read the instructions on the Yahoo page very carefully before posting. This group is closely moderated so that your mail box is not full of spam or other unnecessary mail. We appreciate everyone's consideration and cooperation.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

DIF2018 - The People's Republic of Desire

Everyone knows that the Chinese Internet doesn't allow the usual social media systems allowed outside their country. But who knew that their need to connect to the world would create an obsessive for profit live streaming idol making phenomenon. Director Hao Wu explores the virtual world that exploded in period of rapidly evolving socioeconomic changes. Corporations like YY that develop and manage the platform that are used by individuals who are groomed and curried to become the best hosts to gather fans who support their favorites by purchasing avatars that flash on their screens.

Anyone can be a host. They go through K-pop style training, take classes on becoming top hosts. They can live like goddesses making 200K a month, with most hosts making 40k a month. Of course, YY takes 60% of their earnings, and if you have an agent the host would be left with about 30% for their efforts. One young woman, Shen Man, was a nursing student whose father had just gone bankrupt. Now she supports her gravy train dad and step mom while she live streams and sings for her fans from her computer at home. She's not as pretty as the others, and her voice is nice, but not up to recording star standards, but she is popular enough to generate enough income to support her parents. Then there is Big Li, a comedian who is married to the YY host trainer. He's loud and abrasive, but has managed to attract very loyal fans. Including a young migrant worker, doing menial jobs. He hero worships Big Li since he started with nothing and has become successful. He lives vicariously through him while barely eking out a living. The hosts have millions of diaosi fans - underemployed self-described “losers” - all over the country. And the fans encourage the rich fans who buy status as patrons of particular hosts.

The culmination of their efforts are put to the test in an annual competition over several days to find the bests of the hosts. They compete with each other to gather the most fans and patrons buying into their stream. That's talking multi-millions of dollars and people who encourage each other in honor of their favorite host. While the monetary result is more status for the hosts, it also brings a ton load of baggage. Like rich patrons hoping to have some personal encounter time with the female hosts, who may suffer from scandal afterwards. Plus the efforts wears and tears on the hosts, who know they are not doing anything meaningful for the money they are forced to demand from their fans in order to stay on the air. It's a strange dichotomy in the Chinese internet culture. All this time and money and really nothing to show for it. This is definitely one of the most interesting and unusual docs at this festival.
(Review by reesa)

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