Yana is a 24-year-old rural migrant who recently arrived in Chongqing to pursue her "Chinese Dream." Drawn by the glamour and easy riches of China's historic real estate boom, she opens a foreigner rental agency designed to help Chinese real estate developers market their new developments. But this business takes a dubious turn as her foreigners are increasingly used in a surreal effort to turn remote rural ghost towns into "globalized booming cities" on the days that outside investors and political leaders visit. When the inevitable happens and the real estate bubble starts to pop, Yana is forced to sell her company and reassess everything she ever believed in. Shot over several years, the film is at once a personal story and an on-the-ground chronicle of one of the most critical economic issues of our time.
First feature documentary by American director and anthropologist David Borenstein, who started making Dream Empire while in China doing a PhD on the country’s housing boom. The film was selected for IDFA’s First Appearance competition.