A daredevil photographer, an aspiring swimsuit model, and a midwest girl next door are all looking for the same things from their Instagram account–a little love, acceptance and, of course, fame. And they’ll do just about anything to get it. With an observational eye Social Animals peeks into the digital and real worlds of today’s image-focused teenager, where followers, likes and comments mark success and self worth.
KAYLYN has always dreamed of being a Victoria Secret model. And while she's won a fair number of dance competitions and teen pageants, she doesn’t have the height to join the big leagues of the New York runway. So she’s building a fan base on Instagram instead, and taking advice from her millionaire father on how to turn this instafame it into a real career.
But there are pitfalls to becoming a brand while you’re becoming a woman. On her way to 500k followers, she’s just got to figure out what they are.
HUMZA grew up in the Queens projects. He’d never left his four blocks until he got a skateboard in middle-school. But it was that tiny camera embedded on the back of a broken iPhone 4 that really changed his life. Now he’s risking it every day for just the right photo, and a lot of people have taken notice.
But while his quick success has landed him magazine covers, a respectable bank account, and a handful of passport stamps, gaining all those followers may have cost him his friends.
EMMA is just your typical teenager. She’s figuring it all out as she goes, and not without a few bumps along the way. Those pics she DM’d her first boyfriend. That comment she left on her best friend’s post. And life online keeps getting more difficult. When things get unbearable, Emma decides to start over, both at a new school and with a new Instagram account.
But when love and body image and self doubt hit her the hardest, she has to learn that processing what's happened isn’t as easy as deleting a post.
Jonathan IGNATIUS Green
Social Animals is Green’s feature documentary debut. A graduate of the American Film Institute, his short films have screened at various international festivals including New York Underground, Barcelona, Cyprus and Cannes. His recent short documentary The Birth of the Camera Phone premiered on the National Geographic short film showcase and was selected as a Vimeo Staff pick. Green received a Webby Award for his two interactive short films journaling the struggle of children victimized by the African AIDS pandemic. He currently lives in Pasadena, California where he directs spots and branded content at Conscious Minds, the content agency he co-owns.
While still an intern at Warner Bros, Blake became a social media influencer himself when his YouTube video snatched ten million views. Soon after he launched his own content agency, Conscious Minds, and went on to produce work for clients like Nike, Uber, Levis, Snapchat, and Red Bull Media House. His company’s work has been featured in AdAge Fast Company, Billboard Magazine and on CNN. Social Animals is Blake's first feature film.
Lipson found his way into filmmaking through photography three decades ago, but quickly began producing documentaries. His first film, Thin Blue Line directed by Errol Morris, captured massive critical acclaim and is still revered as one of the "most important documentaries of all time" (Sight and Sound critics poll). Since then, Mark has acted as producer and executive producer on a long list of award-winning documentaries including Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control, Tabloid, In Football We Trust and Sailing a Sinking Sea.
You could call Cam an expert in social media, but that's only part of his arsenal of creative firepower. As creative director, he has crafted strategy and creative for some of the biggest brands, including helping Nike become one of the top five brands on Instagram through his brainchild, the Nike Photo Collective. It was through this collaboration with Instagram influencers that Social Animals was born. It marks Cam's first feature film. Cam currently serves as creative director and partner at Conscious Minds.
Carol Martori is a documentary film editor. Her feature credits include Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable, directed by Aaron Lieber, about the famed surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack at age 13; Love Me, directed by Jonathon Narducci, which delves into the world of international matchmaking; Waiting for Lightning on professional skateboarder Danny Way and his attempt to jump the Great Wall of China; Billy Bob Thornton's The King of Luck about country music legend Willie Nelson and as additional editor on Manny the bio-pic on prize-winning fighter Manny Pacquiao by Leon Gast and Ryan Moore and Dave Grohl's Sound City about the fabled music studio where Nevermind was recorded and the impact of digital tools on music making. In addition to her feature work, Martori has edited a number of documentary series for tv, from Gangland on the History Channel to The Final Report on the National Geographic Channel. Her work has appeared in numerous film festivals from Sundance to SXSW to HotDocs. Prior to her film work, Martori was a lecturer in the Department of Sociology at San Diego State University, where she received her MA, specializing in gender and social movements.
Co-Producer, Editor, Writer
Peter spent his childhood on the rolling plains of Oklahoma. When a child, he believed he could swim without floaties, leapt into a pool, and sank straight to the bottom. Now he crafts and edits stories for brands and production companies such as Nike, Uber and Purina. Garriott is a graduate of Covenant College, where he studied Philosophy & Religion. He enjoys drinking coffee, sharing stories, and being an uncle.
Brady Hammes has edited a variety of short and long-form documentaries for clients such as National Geographic, Facebook Watch, AOL/Huffington Post, Nike, and Bentley. As a fiction writer, his work appeared in a number of literary magazines and journals, and his new novel Bygones, will be published by Random House/Ballatine in mid-2019. Originally from Iowa, Brady now lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.