Great Hoax: The Moon Landing Crash-Lands at the 77th Venice International Film Festival

VENICE, ITALY – Serendipity teams up for a 2nd VR project with John Hsu, the director of the beloved VR comedy, Your Spiritual Temple Sucks, co-produced with 3DAR, the animation company behind the award winning VR series, Gloomy Eyes, and co-directed by Marco Lococo, to create the political satire, Great Hoax: The Moon Landing. Today, the 77th Venice International Film Festival announced the VR competition lineup and Great Hoax: The Moon Landing is included on the shortlist. It will compete with the world’s top VR projects for the Grand Jury Prize for Best VR Immersive Work, Best VR Immersive User Experience and Best VR Immersive Story at the 77th edition of the Venice Film Festival. The project will have a limited release on the Viveport, during the festival dates of September 2nd-12th, 2020.

Great Hoax: The Moon Landing, is an immersive, interactive, animated VR comedy, wherein the Taiwanese government decides to stage a mission to the moon, in order to “make the country rich again.”Audience members will be able to interact with characters and objects in the film, through interactive 6DOF (6 degrees-of-freedom) VR technology, as they spearhead the “journey” to the “moon,” says producer Adam Cullen Young.  “In the film, the audience members will role play the actor who is hired to be Taiwan’s first astronaut to “land” on the moon, mirroring the famous Kubrick moon landing conspiracy.  Following the director’s instructions (and reprimands) in the film, users can explore the environments and have their historic first steps on the moon recorded.”

Director John Hsu found it hard to hide his excitement. “I never dared to think that when we started this project, we could be selected for such an important international film festival like Venice, so it feels very surreal to learn the news of our selection.  For the team, this is the first time that we have conducted such a complex, cross-cultural co- production and the content we set about to make for this project is new territory for me. Everyone on the crew has been tortured by me for more than a year, so when their efforts are rewarded like this, I feel very happy.” Due to the international epidemic of COVID-19, the shortlisted films can only be viewed online.

Producer Estela Valdivieso Chen states, “Last year (2019) coincided with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.  So, Taiwan Public Television took this as an opportunity to finance our project that has such a satirical twist about such a monumental event, and together with the Kaohsiung Film Archive as financiers, we collaborated on the artwork and programming with 3DAR, an Argentine animation company,” she says.  Their small step will be an…important big step for mankind.

The film was originally selected to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in the United States and Annecy International Animation Film Festival, but they were unable to be screened.  Although the epidemic has disrupted the entire exhibition plan this year, most of the VR film festivals have also been forced to be truly virtual. For Great Hoax: The Moon Landing though, it has been a silver lining for the production team, as they were grateful for the extra production time to further craft the project and let the work greet the world with a  polished look.

The project was also selected as a participant at the 2019 Venice Production Bridge, as the 1st episode of trilogy, to be completed. The film will also be exhibited at of Festival NewImages in Paris in late September.


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Type: VR Animation

Format: Interactive 6DOF

Country: Taiwan, Argentina
Language: English, Mandarin

Runtime: 15-20 mins

Producers: Estela Valdivieso Chen, Adam Cullen Young, German Heller

Directors: John Hsu, Marco Lococo

Screenwriter: John Hsu

Original Soundtrack: Owen Wang