Director:Abigail Egden, New Zealand
In a world where our intimacy with technology is growing daily, 2D Love explores a global
movement of people who have rejected human-to-human relationships and prefer to love, date
and marry characters from their favourite anime shows.
Meet Jonty. He’s a friendly Kiwi guy based in Auckland. Tall. Charismatic. Loves a spot of Rugby. Oh, and he’s got a lovely girlfriend! Only thing is she’s not human… she’s a 2D anime character. Jonty is not alone. Moe is a Japanese slang word which describes a burning yet ‘innocent’ passion for fictional characters. The word emerged in the 1990s on various online forums shared by anime fans declaring their 2D Love, embarking on long term relationships and even marriages to their favourite characters known as a ‘waifu’ or ‘husbando.’ It has since seen Otaku (hardcore anime fans who identify as being ‘Moe’) fighting for their rights to have digital lovers socially and legally recognised. What started as a committed minority in Japan has grown into a global movement – with die hard groups in America, Europe, Asia and right here in New Zealand. In 2008, 3000 people marched through Tokyo campaigning for 2D Love to be recognised as a legitimate sexual preference.
We’ll follow Jonty as he journeys from New Zealand to the bright lights of Akihabara, Japan.Once there he meets key Moe community players – such as American anthropologist and die-hard Moe activist Patrick Galbreith. Together they explore the most alluring and bizarre features of the 2D Love culture including a visit to a maid café (an immersive cosplay experience beginning with a candle lighting ceremony which signifies departure from the 3D world and a descent into the 2D) and a date with an AI avatar. We also encounter a number of female members of the Otaku community. We’ll hear from the world’s leading experts on Moe’ culture, anthropology, relationships and sexuality as they provide an expository grounding for the documentary and tackle the big questions like: should 2D Love be recognized as another sexual orientation, or is it just one small part of the gradual demise of interpersonal relationships in a digital age? Sound crazy? 2D Love explores just that. As technology makes our 2D dreams more accessible, and as global pandemics drive us apart and the internet becomes our most reliable friend, could the future be divided into those who choose to continue in reality, and those who choose to escape it?
2D Love is a timely parable about human’s growing intimacy with technology and a rare window into the burgeoning world of love in all its dimensions.
In 2016, whilst completing Anthropology studies at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, I learnt of the increasing numbers of young people in Japan reportedly ‘disinterested’ in sex, “not out of a lack of desire, but a lack of interest in fulfilling their desires with other humans.” I wondered if ‘celibacy syndrome’ was the beginning of a global trend as people spend more time interacting with technology than they do with other humans. It was then that the 2D Love journey began, as I pursued my thesis on the topic and soon encountered people online whose feelings for their favourite Japanese anime characters had led them to abandon 3D love altogether. Wondering if this trend was a global phenomenon, it did not take long for to meet fellow New Zealanders also juggling the dimensions. It was then I met Jonty, a 24 year old from Auckland who began opening up about his personal experience with 2D Love. The more he explained his journey, the more I understood the appeal of the philosophy. Why wouldn’t you want to be with someone who couldn’t leave you, and held every quality you thought you ever wanted? This was a story to be explored beyond an academic medium. In 2019 our proof of concept received the Someday Stories Grant (an initiative supported by New Zealand’s key funding bondies including New Zealand on Air and The New Zealand Film Commission) and went on to screen in official competition at Doc NYC 2019 and Cinequest 2020. Throughout this journey, my preconceptions have been absolutely blown out of the water. The idea of loving a non-human seems so ultimately ‘other’, but the people I have met have explained it in such a radically human way. I mean, how is this truly different from an alternate sexual preference? In a world where technology offers us all of the security we lack, it doesn’t really come as a surprise that humans should turn their attention (and affection) to an entity that will care for and accept them without question. And until we get to the heart of the things that are driving us, we’re never going to get to the heart of the things that are driving us apart.
Abigail Egden is a writer/filmmaker/anthropologist from Christchurch whose work has featured at both Cinequest, and Doc NYC. She spent a number of years working with humanitarian and anti-trafficking projects around the worldbefore earning a National Certificate of Film and Television Production in South Africa in 2013. After interning on the Netflix documentary ‘Liberated’, she began exploring the emerging trend of 2D Love for her Honours thesis. She finished her Anthropology degree with First Class Honours at the University of Canterbury in 2016 and moved up to Auckland to continue adapting the field work into a film. Abigail (alongside Producer Gemma Easton-Knight) was recently awarded the AIDC prize and ‘Best New Zealand Pitch’ at the Doc Edge Pitching
We look to go into principal photography in 2021, and for the rest of 2020 we will continue to research, storyline, and gain closer relationships and trust with our subjects (whilst financing the film!)
We will shoot two blocks of photography in Japan, and 2 blocks in New Zealand. We have strong contingency plans in place should international travel still be restricted during that time.
We aim to release the film early 2022.
At present our budget is looking a $1.5 mill NZD
We are currently in development. Over the past two years we’ve completed our initial round of interviews, and are currently in deep research and storylining mode before beginning principal photography in 2021.
Email: A.firstname.lastname@example.org Phone: 0274423500