Founded in 2015, Serendipity Films is a Taipei-based media production company with a deep portfolio of partnerships around the world that specializes in exploring the myriad potentialities that the future may bring. In addition to full-length and short films and television, the company at the end of 2017 released John Hsu’s VR fantasy/comedy film Your Spiritual Temple Sucks. The film has not only earned groundbreaking recognition for its unique Taiwanese creativity and content from Sundance Institute’s New Frontier Lab but has also received a litany of awards from film festivals such as the Sundance Film Festival (US), Sydney Film Festival (Australia), Paris Newimages Festival (France), Lichter Film Festival (Germany), Imagine Film Festival (Netherlands), Cinema VR of the Virtual Reality Market BCN 360º (Spain), and International Istanbul Film Festival (Turkey).
Born on November 9th, 1981, Hsu earned his master’s in Radio, Television & Film from Shih Hsin University. His Real = Online earned a 2005 Golden Bell Best Movie Director Award. He is also Taiwan’s first member of the AFK PL@YERS Machinima video team and enjoys a large following across Chinese Asia. He was shop steward for Poland at the PTS Best of Input 2009 event. His short films have taken numerous awards at international film festivals. In 2014, he branched into filming online commercials and micro films, which have earned consistently high hit rates and generated positive media buzz. Hsu produced the film Detention, based on a popular Taiwanese-produced video game, in 2017. Other recent efforts include the short film Intoxicant, the abovementioned Real = Online, the Kaohsiung-based comedy short The Great Escape from Café City, and the Kaohsiung Film Festival promotional short Priority Stickers.
Your Spiritual Temple Sucks
The ‘spiritual temple’ in this movie takes its cue from one aspect of the Taiwanese folk Guan-Luo-Yin (journey to hell) ceremony. The film takes you to a building beyond the ‘veil’ (in the spirit world) that represents your personal fate, with its layout, arrangement, and even furniture and fittings having a palpable influence on life in the real world outside. The temple master instructs you in how to call a protector deity, who is unique to every participant, and in how to ask his help to fix the problems in your spiritual temple in order to put your fate onto a different and better footing. Apart from its folk-based, fate-altering elements, Director John Hsu has added retro 8-bit video elements to add further fun and interest to the experience. In terms of the technologies involved, the 360 degree panoramic video experience was filmed in VR 3D. Moreover, the ‘bug’ vision used in one of the scenes successfully overcomes traditional VR’s inability to film close-up. Finally, the 8K UHDV format delivers an exceptionally real, delightfully ‘in your face’ viewing experience.