“At some point these young people are so completely natural with this media, but what does that do to them? We live in this age where I could see that they’re over-connected, they’re disconnected, and it’s probably the first time in civilization that you’ve got an entire generation that are better than their parents at key communication… What does 1. living in public do to your psyche? And, 2. what does seeing hardcore porn and beheading at the age of eight tell you about where you fit in society?” These were among the questions raised by “My Suicide” director David Lee Miller at an indieWIRE Presents Apple Store Event in SoHo earlier this month.
Joining him were Ondi Timoner, director of “We Live In Public,” Josh Harris, the subject of Timoner’s documentary and Gabriel Sunday, star of “My Suicide.” Both films explore how technology has eroded the divide between public and private life. “We Live In Public”–which won the Grand Jury Prize for best documentary at Sundance earlier this year–chronicles the rise and fall of Internet pioneer Josh Harris who built a “bunker” in downtown Manhattan equipped with 24/7 surveillance cameras that recorded participants’ every move. “My Suicide”–which won the Grand Jury Prize at Gen Art and screened at SXSW–concerns a teenage boy who announces that he will film his suicide.
The discussion, moderated by film critic and journalist Dennis Lim, touched on how the Internet and social networking has changed the way we interact with each other and the world. Timoner said that she got the idea to make “We Live In Public” when she first saw a status update on Facebook and realized, “There’s this trend starting to happen where people are broadcasting their lives and it really started to remind me of the bunker and the feeling that I had about the way that people reacted to Josh’s experiment. And that’s when I decided that we needed to make the film right now. I felt like Josh was really onto something… I’ve come to realize that he was extremely visionary and early on knew that the Internet would bring out our desire for connection, recognition and in some cases attention and fame which we can have everyday online.”
To listen to the complete indieWIRE Presents: Ondi Timoner and David Lee Miller podcast, you can download it for free from iTunes.