Ghostbox Cowboy- -
Tech entrepreneur Jimmy Van Horn arrives in China armed with an invention and confidence, only to learn that being American is not enough to succeed.
America is dead. And washed-up tech entrepreneur Jimmy Van Horn is pushing the reset button. He’s moving himself and his shell company to Shenzhen, China.
Shenzhen: A fishing village 3 decades ago now the biggest city you’ve never heard of. A fantasia of craven capitalists where wheels of industry spin so fast it’s “literally impossible to walk down the street without making money – if you know the right people.”
Lucky for Jimmy, he’s got a friend holding open the back door to this silicon Shangri-La. Bob Grainger has been here a long time and it shows — he’s got new teeth, a blonde wig and got twenty years younger. He promises to do the same for Jimmy in 6 weeks. Bob’s got friends too: Like Vincent X. — a 25 year old Chinese tech heir who employs thousands of migrant workers making everything from iPhone knock offs to KFC toys. And his sidekick “Specialist” – a 29 year old from the Mojave Desert turned Chinese sourcing lord with a profound disdain for his fellow Americans. With friends like them, who needs enemies? But in China enemies make dreams come true.
Ghostbox Cowboy, from filmmaker John Maringouin, is a cinematic adventure like no other — the first U.S narrative feature shot entirely in one of the world’s most secretive and essential places: Chinese Tech Manufacturing. [ghostboxcowboy.com]
David Zellner shines in this darkly comedic morality tale that examines the inner workings of China’s economic engine and the lengths outsiders will to go to get in on the game. Texan Jimmy Van Horn (Zellner) arrives in China brimming with optimism, only to realize that acquiring a share of the country’s rapidly growing riches is not as easy as it appeared from back home. Armed with an absurd product pitch and short on the charisma or quick thinking needed to convince local businessmen of his sincerity, Jimmy soon finds himself out of funds, leaving him at the mercy of those who promise to help him stay in the place he’s gambled away his entire livelihood to be. As it turns out, there’s a lot of unpleasant work in China for guys who look like Jimmy Van Horn.
Writer, director, and cinematographer John Maringouin has developed a startling visual language to communicate this parable about what happens when Western assumptions meet the realities of the Chinese tech industry. The swirling, overwhelming environment he conjures seems preternaturally positioned to bring Van Horn down. Ghostbox Cowboy delivers a humorously fresh and complex perspective on China’s economic growth and uncovers the machinations that lurk just below the stereotypical facade.
—Jule Rozite [Tribeca]