Each year as the celebration for the Lunar New Year winds down, tourists converge on a village just outside of Taipei to launch thousands of lanterns into the night sky. They represent the hopes of their owners, and as they soar into the darkness they make for one hell of an Instagram post. But what happens when dawn breaks, the tourists leave, and those thousands of wishes fall out of the sky? Ingeniously weaving virtual reality and conventional 2D filmmaking, Jongsma and O’Neill fuse two discrete documentaries about the Pingxi Sky Lantern Festival into a singular whole, and suggest that our dreams may have staggering, real-world consequences.
Jongsma + O’Neill (Kel O’Neill and Eline Jongsma) are a Dutch-American creative team working at the intersection of documentary film, art and technology. They are currently the Sundance New Frontier Artists-in- Residence at the Technicolor Experience Center in Los Angeles. Previously, they created PBS/POV Digital's Emmy- nominated, Webby-honored interactive documentary Empire (New York Film Festival 2013, IDFA DocLab 2014), and were the winners of the inaugural Tim Hetherington Visionary Award for their virtual reality documentary The Ark (Tribeca Film Festival 2016). They speak frequently about the future of media at events like SXSW, MIT Hacking Arts Festival and Magnum’s Photography Expanded Symposium, and work as journalists and commentators for European and American outlets including Vice, VPRO, The Correspondent, The Creators Project and PBS. Independently, Kel was awarded the 2017 Eisenhower Fellowship, and served as Senior Fellow at The Economist Media Lab, where he initiated and launch The Economist's VR app, and was the writer and Creative Lead on the magazine's virtual reality documentary Oceans VR Net Positive (New York Film Festival 2016).