How do two people establish intimacy on the Internet? Can you truly fall in love with someone you've never met? And is that love real? What do digital intimacy and love in the 21st century look like? Is this film about sexting?!
xoxosms is a documentary about the TRUE love story of Gus and Jiyun -- a home schooled 19-year-old from a religious family in small-town Illinois and a 19-year-old Korea-born New York City art student -- who met nearly a year ago in possibly the only place two people so different might ever find each other: The Internet. Over the past 18 months, they have built an intensely intimate world via Skype, AIM and iChat. They are each other’s very first loves, and through the internet, they have established a connection that feels as real as if they were right there beside each other.
Gus and Jiyun met when both happened to take a personality test on MyType, a Facebook app, and each opted to make their results public. Gus noticed something interesting about Jiyun's profile, so he sent her a short message. They started chatting -- about religion, philosophy, her life in New York, his secluded life in Illinois. As their relationship grew more intimate, they began telling each other things they’d never told anyone else. They talked on AIM every Friday from midnight to dawn. Gus said the "L" word (on iChat). The two spoke on the phone, but preferred communicating on Skype -- video on, audio off, long silent conversations of typed words.
Jiyun transferred to the Art Institute of Chicago to be closer to Gus, but financial problems forced her to return to New York City. The future right now is uncertain. But as we watch them make plans to be together in the "real world," we wonder, can you maintain love on the Internet?
***** WHY XOXOSMS NEEDS YOUR HELP!
Instead of the usual panic about young people meeting strangers on the Internet (kidnapping! sexting!), I wanted to tell a story that happens more often, one that reflects how countless relationships are made.
I heard about Jiyun and Gus's real-life modern love story last summer. They told me how they'd fallen for each other online but, even more compellingly, they were able to show me: They'd saved every single chat and text they'd ever exchanged. Those archived, real-time conversations tell the story of their courtship -- line by literal line -- and allow us an intimate view of how their relationship bloomed.
Our designer is working hard to make the words onscreen, Gus and Jiyun's digital courtship, come to life. This process, motion graphics, is painstaking and expensive! The funds we receive through Kickstarter will help Gus and Jiyun’s words look and feel as powerful onscreen as the emotions behind them.
We’ve shot hours of Jiyun and Gus together in "real life" in Chicago, and we have even more footage they shot themselves using cameras we gave them. We need to spend four weeks editing a fine cut. There’s an original score and sound mix that's in the works, too.
With your help, we can finance the resources we need to undertake these processes and produce a beautiful film that properly tells Gus and Jiyun’s story.
xoxosms will be a documentary short, no longer than 20 minutes. We're making sure that in addition to film festivals and traditional venues, xoxosms will live online, so you can click, watch, and pass it on!
***** WHO ARE WE?
Nancy Schwartzman is the director/co-producer of xoxosms. Her work explores the intersection of sex, growing up and new media.
Isaac Mathes is the cinematographer and co-producer of xoxosms. His work is hybrid and essayistic in nature, moving between the poles of documentary, narrative, and video art.
Cast of creatives: Sarah Devorkin is editing, Ryan Davies is composing music, Thomas Cabus (www.thomascabus.fr) is creating motion graphics. They are talents!
Connect with us: www.xoxosmsfilm.org
Our groovy blog: www.xoxosms.tumblr.com
On twitter: www.twitter.com/xoxosms
On Facebook: http://on.fb.me/fe618e