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Wendy Bednarz director

CONSUMERISM IN THE AFTERLIFE, a documentary feature shot in Singapore’s Chinese community, explores the thousand years plus tradition of burning paper money and facsimiles of everyday objects in order to deliver a happy life in the hereafter. Although today, objects may be made with more mass produced materials, the atavistic and deeply felt obligation continues in order to provide for one’s ancestors and appease and feed those hungry ghosts who come back to haunt in the seventh lunar month.

The younger generation may decry the practices as superstitious and a waste of real money but entire villages in China do nothing but manufacture paper bank notes and folded paper offerings that are burned to honor spirits who have died. People continue to burn representations of current consumer lifestyles to address the karmic and spiritual debts owed by family members. It is this paradox that our film explores.

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Wendy bednarz director burningmoneydocumentary