An interactive VR comedy about the Taiwanese faking a moon-landing, in which you play the first Taiwanese astronaut on the moon. Follow instructions from the director to give your most heroic performance… until you watch the finished video and realize how outrageous it all has become.
John Hsu is interested in digital culture, social technology, comedy and sci-fi films, with a fun and satirical sense of humor. His first VR comedy short, Your Spiritual Temple Sucks, was officially selected by Sundance Film Festival New Frontier 2018. Working with a humorous approach to social commentary in mind, he has been creating work that resonates with the cyber generation. In 2018, he started working on a feature film, an adaptation of an internationally distributed Taiwanese Indie Game, Detention, which won him the Best New Director and Best Adapted Screenplay of Golden Horse Award.
Marco Lococo directed two VR Series titles of major reach called “Water Bear”, and “Dessert Island”. He was part of the team behind multi-award winner “Shave it” and “Uncanny Valley”, 3Dar’s originals short films. He was part of the team that created Lil Dicky’s “Earth” video clip as Animation Producer. As to this date it has more than 100 million views on Youtube only, creating all these types of work that resonates with the digital world.
In 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Despite all the conspiracy theories around it, The US successfully showed the world was a powerful a 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 show up and save the day.
This desire, is why you are hired as to be a national hero – the very first Taiwanese who lands on the moon. However, without the budget for space exploration, a fake moon- landing video will need to be made, just like in the famous Kubrick conspiracy.
The whole shooting is in a studio, decorated like the surface of the Moon, with a film crew and government agents watching over the operation. You follow orders from the director, doing all the heroic actions and poses while playing around on set by throwing objects at the crew, antagonizing them.
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 – it has becomes a cheesy Taiwanese karaoke music video, done like a propaganda campaign. Your previous heroic actions become goofy dance moves to accompany the song. As fireworks boom around the island, you feel isolated. The surroundings start disappearing, as if you are still on that fake moon, looking at Taiwan on the Earth, the little island that will soon be forgotten like you, leaving you to try and explore the cosmos yourself.
Great Hoax: The Moon Landing is a 6DOF room-scale interactive VR experience that comes in 6 scenes. You play as the little-known actor, role-playing an astronaut hired by the government to help a famous film director fake the moon-landing video. In each scene, you gradually learn how to follow instructions from the director, completing tasks on the (fake) moon.
The whole experience will be rendered in real-time CG. As the director talks to you on set, you can walk around on the fake moon landscape, interact with objects like a national flag to be planted, moon rocks to be thrown, and director’s instructions to be ignored.
After finishing the shooting, you will watch the complete moon landing video on a TV in the protagonist’s apartment, witnessing the final outcome you helped achieved, which goes to a totally unexpected and hilarious direction.
PTS, Kaohsiung Film Archive, Serendipity
Estela Valdivieso Chen, Adam Cullen Young, German Heller