The World Behind the Teenage Psychic inspired by HBO’s award-winning coming-of-age series, The Teenage Psychic will premiere on 16 December at 8 p.m. exclusively on HBO GO and HBO.
The documentary follows the success of HBO Asia’s first Mandarin original drama series that premiered in 2017 which received recognition at the prestigious Golden Bell Awards. Filmed entirely in Taiwan, the one-hour long Mandarin documentary seeks to delve deeper into the traditions and culture that series is based on.
Featuring anecdotes and stories told by an 18-year-old medium in the Sanchong district, a family of Taoist priests from Keelung city and an award-winning actress and singer whose family runs a funeral business in Nantou county, as well as a practicing priest and teacher of religious studies at Fu-Jen Catholic University, the documentary explores the rituals and beliefs surrounding the afterlife and Ghost Month in Taiwan.
Ming Yi Zhang is an 18-year-old female medium (known locally as a jitong) who acts as a vessel for the Taoist God, the Lotus Prince, at the Sanchong Xiesheng Temple in New Taipei City. In the documentary, she shares her view on the culture and practices involved on being a jitong, including self-flagellation, and how she juggles her temple and personal life.
In light of a passing in her family, the documentary also follows Golden Horse award-winning Taiwanese actress, Qian Na Lee as she returns to her hometown in Nantou County. Having spent her childhood years in an environment bound by traditional folk practices, Qian Na offers an insight into Taiwan’s contemporary perspective of life and death.
Shot mainly in in Keelung City, the documentary also follows three family members of Taoist priests who have served in Keelung City for over 150 years. Wu Ji Lee watches as his two sons, Ming Jun Lee and Cong Hui Lee, perform sacred rituals for the first time at the annual Keelung Zhongyuan Festival, the largest Ghost Festival in Taiwan.
The World Behind the Teenage Psychic is developed and produced by HBO Asia and marks the second original documentary for the network, following their first documentary The Talwars: Behind Closed Doors that premiered in 2017.