A young YouTuber builds herself a fictitious world on the Internet.
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Directed by Jannis Lenz
“Now more than ever, the need for validation on social media permeates our society. It’s connection to self-worth and the instant gratification that lasts but a few hours, can wreak havoc on young people. Unspoken peer pressure to be watched and ‘liked’ in the digital space is at the heart of Jannis Lenz’s film WANNABE, which chronicles a young teen named Coco and her pursuit of stardom on YouTube. But unlike most commentaries on internet fame, Lenz explores the dangers of building a fictitious world to succeed and goes well beyond the confines of short narrative to do so.
Coco, played by German actress Anna Suk, gives an incredibly authentic performance of a struggling actress whose naive view of fame gets the better of her. As Coco loses hope, skips out on school, and disappoints her mother, Suk impressively puts us in her headspace. So while it’s easy to cringe and dislike what her character is after, we can’t help but feel sorry for Coco and hope that she’ll eventually succeed. When filming WANNABE, Lenz wanted to make sure she felt as genuinely real as possible. He therefore only sketched scenes to provide context for his actors and a suitable framework for improvisation and nothing beyond. This allowed the actors to inject their own personalities into their roles, which is perhaps why Suk’s performance was so compelling.
Coco’s YouTube posts are disingenuously positive and glamourous, yet her life off-camera is a stark contrast. Lenz’s commentary about the difference between what we project online and our real lives, illustrates a cynical outlook on social media fame and how achieving a fantasy doesn’t come without the same life problems – particularly feelings of inadequacy. As a companion piece to the film, Lenz created YouTube playlists that document a larger picture of the COCO-CHANNEL world (even going as far as posting the music video Coco appears in on an adjacent channel). Not only can viewers see her vlogs, they can interact with commenters in a real-life, albeit digital way. While the audience sees Coco catfish her viewers in the short – or at least tries to – Lenz attempts to catfish the internet by posting her journey online the way that her character does in the film. On YouTube, she’s a real thing, just not quite famous like she hopes to become in the short.
A wonderfully relevant film that speaks to the online world we currently live in, WANNABE is a mesmerizing piece of fiction that many young people will eerily relate to.” – S/W Curator Chelsea Lupkin
Coco ANNA SUK
Mother SIMONE FUITH
Jenny JULIA PLACH
Casting-Partner MERLIN LEONHARDT
Caster MARKUS SCHLEINZER
Director and Transmedia Concept JANNIS LENZ
Screenplay JANNIS LENZ, MATTHIAS WRITZE, ANDI WIDMERProducer LUKAS ZWENG, ROLAND FISCHER
Director of Photography ANDI WIDMER
Editor ALEXANDER RAUSCHER
Creative Director LENI GRUBER
Production Design WINNIE KÜCHL
Costume Designer EVA ZAR
Styling INES MARIE POLAK
Reproduced on this channel with the permission of the filmmakers.