Synopsis: Conceived as a way to interrogate processes of neo-colonialism, and highlighting the alienating effects of technological progress, Jake Wachtel’s KARMALINK is a mind-bending tale of reincarnation, artificial consciousness, and the search for enlightenment.
In near-future Phnom Penh, the rich and privileged are augmented with nanotech, and new skyscrapers crowd the skyline. In Tralok Bek, a tight-knit community threatened with forced eviction, 13-year-old Leng Heng is having vivid dreams of his past lives. He and his friends are convinced they are meant to find a buried Buddhist statue to save their homes, and they seek out help from a street-smart girl in the neighborhood, Srey Leak. Together they follow clues across town and into the past, uncovering a link with a genius neuroscientist on a quest for digital nirvana. As Leng Heng’s dreams converge on the present, his very sense of identity begins to unravel. When it becomes clear that the stakes are higher than they imagined, the two friends must decide how far they are willing to go to find their treasure and the truth.