$12 General Admission
In rural Tennessee, Austyn Tester, a 16-year-old newcomer to the live-broadcast ecosystem, attempts to ride a wave of optimism to become the next big internet crush. Teen girls all over the world tune into online “boy broadcasts” like Tester’s, in a 21s t-century version of Tiger Beat, where all your fave heartthrobs might actually interact with you online for a minute or two — or more, for the right price. But Tester’s earnestness sets him apart, peering wide-eyed into his laptop camera and professing unconditional love and support to his female fans for hours on end. What’s he selling? Male validation. In return, he asks for fame and a better life for his family. Will Tester’s open heart give him celebrity status and a chance to escape from his dead-end town, or is this new ecosystem built for failure?
Liza Mandelup’s feature debut distills the most complex concepts about modern-day childhood and a gold-rush teen economy into one fascinating and surprisingly moving human portrait that questions what values we’ve passed onto our youths, and discovers a new and fleeting American dream. Mandelup approaches this peculiar world with an intimate air of BFF confidentiality and finds that as esoteric as the internet and its niches feel to some, boy broadcasts represent modern youth’s starvation for love and acceptance and susceptibility to exploitation — a tale, unfortunately, as old as time.
Description courtesy of Hulu.
“It’s an engaging, amusing and occasionally jaw-dropping portrait of a world that could hardly be more foreign to most documentary fans.” – Dan Fienberg, Hollywood Reporter
“Jawline is an in-depth, sensitive exploration of male social media stars and their fans, the grind it takes to get to the top, and the dangers of relying on instant fame as a career plan, even when it seems close enough to touch.” – Stephanie Watts, One Room With A View
“Mandelup somehow manages to entirely resist ridicule on all fronts of this weird new world by highlighting the yearning and desperation familiar to anyone who was ever a teenager.” – Arlin Golden, Film Inquiry
“Jawline explores what’s unique about social media stardom without overemphasizing its novelty, so the film works as a dissection of modern digital celebrity, but also a classic story about beautiful young people struggling to get famous.” – Adi Robertson, The Verge