The Weekly Kickstarter: xoxosms and Love in the Digital Age

Love is a constant but its expressions are infinitely variable and, as our modern world shows, capable of transitioning to new media. xoxosms, our Kickstarter project of the week, takes a look at just how much our idea of what constitues love has transformed over the years by examining a couple brought together through the inventions of the digital age.

Love is a constant but its expressions are infinitely variable and, as our modern world shows, capable of transitioning to new media. xoxosms, our Kickstarter project of the week, takes a look at just how much our idea of what constitues love has transformed over the years by examining a couple brought together through the inventions of the digital age.

xoxosms presents the true story of two drastically different people that fall in love despite being world apart both geologically and culturally. The documentary, spanning 18 months in its protagonists’ lives, centers on Gus and Jiyun as they meet through Facebook personality-test app, MyType, start to communicate over the internet and, eventually, begin to fall for each other without ever meeting in person.

Gus is a sheltered 20-year-old, brought up in a religiously conservative family and home-schooled in a small Illinois town. Jiyun, 19, was born is Korea and is a New York City art student. Through Skype, iChat and AIM, Gus and Jiyun connect in a manner that would likely be impossible outside of the internet, eventually becoming each other’s first loves and altering their futures in order to finally be together sans internet.

xoxosms, by looking at the evolution of one relationship, takes a close look into the increasingly prevalent phenomenon of people falling in love without ever really meeting each other. Instead of a look into the alienation that comes part and parcel with global/cultural digitization (like the recent, excellent documentary Catfish) the filmmakers behind xoxosms provide an argument for the positive aspects of this process. The love between Jiyun and Gus is an example of the warm, fuzzy side of the cold, calculating machinery we’ve made such an integral part of our lives.

xoxosms will be a 20 minute short film upon completion, consisting of new music, interviews and digital highlighting incorporated into the edited version of more than a year’s worth of conversations and interactions between Jiyun and Gus. The filmmakers behind the project are based in Brooklyn, New York and consist of director/co-producer Nancy Schwartzman, cinematrographer/co-producer Isaac Mathes, editor Lizzie Donahue, graphic artist Thomas Cabus and composer Ryan Davies. They’re all working hard to make xoxosms a reality but need some financial assistance from those interested in the project.

Pledges for xoxosms provide help with several key aspects of the film’s production. Money received through Kickstarter goes toward helping the team in editing down the massive amount of raw footage (a four week, intensive process), composing original motion graphics and other sundry production costs. Donations to the project will also ensure that xoxosms will be viewed at, not only international film festivals, but also online. The hope is that the documentary will be able to live past its release date as a truly viral film, able to be viewed, “liked” and shared with others.

For more information on xoxosms check out the project’s website, blog, Twitter or Facebook. Funding for xoxosms ends on Wednesday, March 16th at 7.38am EST (if the $8,000 goal is met). To contribute to the project, visit the xoxosms Kickstarter page.