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In a digital universe where live streamers earn as much as $200,000 a month, can virtual relationships replace real-life human connections?
People's Republic of Desire 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 the 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.
— SXSW, USA, Winner, Documentary Feature Award
— HotDocs, Canada