The World I Live In Doesn't Exist

The World I Live In Doesn’t Exist is a documentary about depersonalisation and derealisation, a form of dissociation where those afflicted experience sensations of isolation, alienation and unreality as they experience dream-like, out-of-body feelings and sensations, as well as distress and doubt over whether they are real or in control.

Recounted through surreal animation and poignant soundbites, the film follows the anecdotes of Trith, an anonymous individual from France who has battled chronic symptoms for 20 years, leaving him feeling ‘non-existent’ and ‘like a robot,’ and Lamthan, a young Thai art graduate with an artistic interest on identity. Through their anecdotes, the film reveals how these symptoms affected their lives, emotionally and socially, but also challenge our understanding of identity and humanity.

  • Celestine Pang
  • Ker Wei Tan
  • Haritz Jasni
  • Ker Wei Tan
    Editor / Animator
  • Chin Wang Tam
    Audio Mixer
  • Matthew Ng
  • Project Type:
    Animation, Documentary, Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Social Commentary, Mental Health
  • Runtime:
    14 minutes 42 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    May 1, 2023
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
    Singapore, Thailand
  • Language:
    English, Thai
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - LASALLE College of the Arts
Director Biography - Ker Wei Tan

Tan Ker Wei is an aspiring filmmaker who believes in two things: the boundlessness of film language, and the impact of their stories, from the subjects and for the audience. His experience as a documentarian, editor and animator allows him to creatively display otherwise inaccessible experiences and people.

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Director Statement

Depersonalization-Derealization disorder (DPDR) is a psychiatric condition characterized by persistent feelings of detachment from one's self and of unreality about the outside world, where subjects commonly report feeling as if they are "in a dream," or as if they are "not real," even though they are aware otherwise. Whilst the prevalence rate of DPDR is approximately 2%, DPDR is a condition that is prone to being under-recognised and underdiagnosed due to the difficulty in understanding, describing and diagnosing it. On the other hand, it is speculated that about half of the general population has been through at least one transient experience of depersonalisation or derealisation in their lifetime.

My frequent episodes of such experiences, as well as my increasing awareness of them, were one of the inspirations for this film. More importantly, I had also drawn parallels between the symptoms of the condition and the follies of the modern human condition, particularly the detachment of one's own identity from themselves and within society, and felt that there was a powerful connection there that needed to be told. Therefore, while I have done research on the disorder prior to production, neither I nor the film aim to present ourselves as a factual authority on a matter we are not professionally qualified in, but rather aim to present emotional truth in the experiences of Lamthan and Trith and form a connection between them and the viewers, without "othering" them.