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Beyond Mirage

Mirage is not only an illusion or hallucination produced by the mind, but it is also bound by the physics of reality. To wonder what lays beyond the mirage, ‘perhaps it was the sense of freedom, both physically and spiritually, the knowledge that should I want to look beyond the sandhills and peer beyond the mirage, there was nothing but my two legs and a water bag to prevent me…’ (Arthur W. Upfield, 2020)
Mirage phenomenon was juxtaposed to represent the anticipatory dynamic, one that acknowledges the nature of the relation existing between time and temporal entities. Anticipation entails a moment when we travel through time to a time that has not come, that is the future. To anticipate, our mind must reach the future where our body has not. When you reach it, it’s gone! VR is challenged by this existential problem, which may be described as the paradox of presence – being there but not being there.
BEYOND MIRAGE is positioned as a strategic enquiry for possible future of VR by ‘probing’ and ‘sensing’ and discovering alternative futures for VR in SEA. While we are witnessing a booming of VR filmmaking in regions beyond SEA, it is our hope that a deeper understanding of the relation between VR technology and its comparable traditional narrative space will shed light on the enigmatic and fascinating breadth of the “not yet” in this region.
This event is made possible with the support of Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Malaysia (TECO) & Kaohsiung Film Archive.
Festival Pass Holders may utilise the pre-registration link to secure a viewing slot.

Programmer: Lim Kok Yoong

Dr. Lim Kok Yoong is a Malaysia born media artist who works with digital media and digital technology.  His works investigate the mind, the media environments and material processes through theoretical and practice-based work, drawing on his interest in the existentialist perception of human conditions.

The Seven-Step Verse
Dir. Ella Raidel | Austria/Singapore | 8′

The documentary VR work explores the relationship between space and body in Singapore's iconic modernist shopping malls in seven scenarios. The Seven-Step Verse is inspired by the Chinese poet Cao Zhi, who believed that a poem in seven verses shows wit, speed, and creativity. The performers occupy the malls, appropriating clothing and gestures and reciting texts as they pass by – thus pointing to the underlying ideological and social hierarchies.

About The Director

Ella Raidel is an Austrian filmmaker and visual artist, living in Asia for more than 20 years. She is Assistant Professor at NTU Singapore. In her interdisciplinary works, she focuses on the socio-cultural aspects of globalization, urbanization, and the representation of images. Her hybrid practice is to create a discursive space for filmmaking, art, and research. Ella Raidel’s works have participated in international biennials and exhibitions, and presented at numerous International film festivals.

Rojak Cow Cow
Dir. Vimala Perumal | Malaysia | 11′

An out of the ordinary situation where a family newly shifted to an apartment and requested for the ceremonial cow’s blessings for their house-warming prayers. Unfortunately, the cow got stuck in an unexpected situation. But with the neighbours help, everyone tackled the situation together and highlighted the beauty of our diverse culture in Malaysia.

About The Director

Vimala Perumal was born to mixed-race parents in Kedah. Growing up in a diverse cultural environment exposed her to the diversity of Malaysia;s multi-cultures, which affected her storytelling style. Vimala is currently a Senior Lecturer at Multimedia University. She is also actively involved in the Malaysian film industry as writer, director and producer.

To Enter the Forest
Dir. Zarif Ismail & Mahen Bala | Malaysia | 5′

Cēb bah hēp (To Enter the Forest) takes viewers on a journey deep into the Malaysian rainforest, exploring the struggle of the Bateks in maintaining their ancient way of life and relationship with the forest.

About The Director

Mahen Bala is a documentary photographer and filmmaker based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His body of work focuses on documenting Malaysian history, its people and identity. His short films and documentaries have been recognised internationally, and photographs exhibited regularly in galleries. Apart from documentaries, he also works as a Director of Photography on short and feature narrative films projects.

Zarif Ismail is a writer. He co-founded the multimedia Virtual Reality project Elders of Our Forest with Mahen Bala to explore the tropical rainforests of Malaysia.

Dir. Fariz Hanapiah | Malaysia | 15′

A tale about a “Plus Peronda” driver that receives a call about a car stranded at the side of a road which requires your aid to help the stranded driver at legendary Karak Highway. The Plus Peronda helps the stranded lady without any clue that she is ‘someone else’. Strange things happen soon after, as suddenly she disappears and loud screaming can be heard from the jungle nearby. It leads the Peronda Highway to find out and looking for the missing lady. The content can be experienced as shorts in 3D VR and is interactive, allowing players to play role of Adam.

About The Creators

Pickup was directed by Idril Mihat (Motio Studio) and produced by Fariz Hanapiah (EDT). It’s an experimental project where we tried to mix storytelling and the 360 experience through an interactive VR platform. With 15 years of experience in media, this film will kickstart a new venture for both teams.

Primordial Memory
Dir. KC Tan & Lim Kok Yoong | Malaysia | 10′

Primordial memory is predicting the starting of artificial life on the notion of convergence between biological life and digital life. We began by questioning what the concept of life means. The history of scientific ideas on the origin of life has brought the hypothesis of fundamental particles (in primordial soup) into focus and the problem of the available theories has always been the gap between chemistry and living cells. Quantum theory shows that fundamental participles need relationships to exist in this world. The proposition of life form in relation to its environment bridged the gap between fundamental particles and organisms. Hence, the concept of life to us is an arbitrary construct whose boundaries are blurred or can be bent between digital and biological. We believe that by reframing the concept of life, by stressing the harmony of the natural environment and digital, we can start to question how limited our current notions of life are. Using microscopic footage, cinematographic techniques, we bring you a meta-projection mapping experience that operates in different observational scales and dimensions, to tell you a different story of life and what it means to be alive or ALive (Artificial Life).

About The Director

KC Tan is a co-founder of Fabu, a maker by profession and an artist at heart. His practice involves creative coding where he creates visuals through code.

About The Director

Dr. Lim Kok Yoong is a Malaysia born media artist who works with digital media and digital technology.  His works investigate the mind, the media environments and material processes through theoretical and practice-based work, drawing on his interest in the existentialist perception of human conditions.

Dir. Sojung Bahng | South Korea | 8-10′

Sleeping Eyes is an interactive cinematic VR piece that tells the story of Sungeun Lee, a South Korean media artist suffering from narcolepsy. The work invites viewers to experience the symptoms and experience of someone with narcolepsy, including uncontrollable sleepiness and physical violence rooted in social ignorance. Non-linear narrative and gamification techniques were applied to make the viewers actively explore a series of surrealistic episodes.

Sleeping Eyes
Dir. Sojung Bahng | South Korea | 10-12′

Anonymous is an interactive 3D real-time rendered cinematic VR applying gaze interaction. The story concerns the life of an old man living alone and remembering his life. The main character and his environment are abstracted by using cardboard textures. The viewer is able to access the perspective of objects that fill this domestic setting, ultimately finding themselves assuming the role of the man’s dead wife, where from the vantage of her portrait hung on the wall, they observe the rituals of his solitary daily life.

About The Director

Sojung Bahng is an award-winning artist, filmmaker and researcher, appointed as an Assistant Professor in Media and Performance Production at Queen’s University in Canada. She explores cinematic media via digital technologies to reflect aesthetic and narrative experiences in cultural and philosophical contexts.

Your Spiritual Temple Sucks
Dir. John Hsu | Taiwan | 10′

Mr. Chang arrives to his “Spiritual Temple,” a place that represents one’s destiny. To solve his marital crisis and financial problems, he summons his guardian – The Thunder God, to modify the temple from the ground up. It turns out to be a big mistake…

About The Director

Graduated from Film Dept. of Shi-Hsin University, John Hsu won The Best Director Award in 2005 with his TV-movie debut REAL ONLINE. Most of his works were selected multiple times by international film festivals including Rotterdam and Taipei Film Festival.

Afterimage for Tomorrow
Dir. Singing Chen | Taiwan | 19′

Welcome to the “Afterlife Memory Trust.” With us, you will be selecting three pieces of your memory to relive by the time you decease. When your life terminates, we will stimulate your neurons to bring out the designated memories. Each vision lasts a light time.

We perceive the world through eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. These sensory is stored as memory in words, pictures, sounds and moving images. With fractions of the transcribed memories, we are capable of returning to a specific point in time, which is an act of distortion and overlaying of time and space. However memories aren’t always reliable. A man wakes up in an unknown dimension of consciousness. What is it that he sees, hears and feels? Is it memory, virtual reality or terminal lucidity?

About The Director

Singing Chen conveys her long-term social observation through documentaries and feature dramas. Her approach of magical realism highlights the absurdity in reality, and points out the structural problem in the society. In her well constructed fast-paced works, she is capable of delivering subtle emotion and in-depth dynamics in characters. Throughout time, her works are screened and nominated in Berlin Film Festival, Golden Horse Awards, Busan International Film Festival, Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Taipei Film Festival, Kaohsiung Film Festival, and Taiwan International Documentary Festival. Aside from being on set, she also produces scores for theater plays and films. Chen’s ability thus makes her work rich in rhythm and music.

Dir. Hsu Chih-Yen | Taiwan | 18′

In the summer afternoon, the family gathers to the old house. They surround beside grandma to show their love, even though she’s no longer able to move, react or hear clearly. As people come and go, the television keeps replaying and the fan is still running in the peaceful old house, where lives the grandma and her maid.

About The Director

Graduated from the Communications Design of Shih Chien University. Hsu is a director of various films such as music videos, commercials, and short clips. He has a good sense of the rhythm of his film and narrating realistic emotions as well. “Dear EX”, his first feature co-directed with renowned writer Mag Hsu, has won numerous awards at Taipei Film Festival and Golden Horse Awards.

Great Hoax: The Moonlanding
Dir. John Hsu & Marco Lococo | Taiwan, Argentina | 20′

In 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Despite all the conspiracy theories around it, The US successfully showed the world what a powerful country can accomplish. 50 years later, people in Taiwan are struggling between an identity crisis and economic fluctuations, hoping for something or someone that would save the day. This desire is why you are hired to be a national hero – the very first Taiwanese who lands on the moon. Finally, comes the release day,You wait for the broadcast in your dingy apartment, only to realize it’s not about a moon-landing anymore…

About The Director

Graduated from Film Dept. of Shi-Hsin University, John Hsu won The Best Director Award in 2005 with his TV-movie debut REAL ONLINE. Most of his works were selected multiple times by international film festivals including Rotterdam and Taipei Film Festival.

Marco LOCOCO directed two VR Series titles of major reach, Water Bear and Dessert Island. He was among the team behind multi-award winners Shave It and Uncanny Valley.

Red Tail Ep.1
Dir. Fish Wang | Taiwan | 7′

At a train station floating in the cloud, a mysterious red tail catches the boy’s attention. Chasing the red tail, the boy travels through countless magical places, runs into bizarre creatures, and finally he meets the gentleman, who seems to know his secrets more than he does. When the red tail reminds the boy of his own memory and sadness, what are the secrets hidden behind, and where will they lead him next? After winning a Golden Horse Award for the animation Gold Fish, Zero One Film and Fish Wang has worked together again, in collaboration with Funique VR (in the mist, nominated in 2021 Venice Film Festival) to create the VR title “Red Tail”, inspired by Wang’s same named comic story. The mysterious red tail leads viewers on a magical journey, creating a poetic metaphor of people’s childhood memories.

About The Director

Born in Taipei in 1971, Fish Wang has been involved in animation, comics, sculpture creation, novel writing and gaming industry for over 30 years. His animated short film “Gold Fish” won the Best Animation Short at Gold Horse Award in 2018 and the “Red Tail” series is his first time involving in virtual reality creation.