Like Marina Abramovic in her MoMA performance, the subject of the next title in the 2012 Sundance US Documentary Competition offers himself up for public scrutiny: Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch’s ME @THE ZOO_ examines Internet celebrity through the perspective of Britney Spears’ biggest fan, Chris Crocker.
Sundance Program Description:
ME @THE ZOO_ tells the fascinating modern tale of Chris Crocker, a video blogger from a small town in Tennessee. Part of the first generation that came of age under constant self-surveillance, he was raised on the Internet, and his online videos—including his infamous YouTube declaration “Leave Britney Alone!”—have been viewed hundreds of millions of times. The film weaves a tapestry of Web comments and response videos with reactions from Crocker fans and haters to map the controversial rise of an Internet folk hero.
This unconventional documentary excavates a personal story that was written on the Internet and, in the process, uncovers an identity indistinguishable from technology. In this exploration of the way video sharing and social platforms shape the way we tell our stories and mediate our lives, filmmakers Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch utilize the aesthetic imbedded in the story to craft a scintillating portrait of a young man who may be a star, a fad, or a harbinger of what lies ahead.
Moukarbel and Veatch both make their documentary feature directorial debut with this film, whose title references the very first video uploaded to YouTube. Sharing producing duties with the duo are veteran industryite Jack Turner (WHICH WAY HOME, RACING DREAMS, COLD WEATHER) and Nicholas Shumaker (Sundance alum ANOTHER EARTH). Executive producers include fellow Sundance filmmaker Rachel Grady (DETROPIA), REM frontman Michael Stipe (previous producing credits include Sundance alums AMERICAN MOVIE, OUR SONG, SAVED!, STRANGER INSIDE, THIRTEEN CONVERSATIONS ABOUT ONE THING, THE SLEEPY TIME GAL, EVERYDAY PEOPLE, and ROOM), Jim McKay (Sundance alums GIRLS TOWN, OUR SONG, and EVERYDAY PEOPLE), and Vin Farrell (Sundance alum UNTIL THE VIOLENCE STOPS).
Why You Should Watch:
I previously wrote about the doc during its Kickstarter campaign here. Viewers intrigued by the impact of technology and media on social interactions and the notion of celebrity are urged to check out the film, as are those interested in issues of gender, sexuality, and class.
More information may be found on the film’s website and Facebook page. Moukarbel and Veatch discuss their doc in a “Meet the Artists” interview for Sundance here. The doc’s trailer may be found here. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.