A documentarian who is no stranger to the Tribeca Film Festival, director Bert Marcus is back at the fest this year with his latest outing, The American Meme, in which he takes on the bizarre current climate of social media, with a little help from Paris Hilton.
The film charts the evolution of the social media landscape since the time Hilton—by her own account—invented the selfie, demonstrating a path to celebrity success and, in essence, creating a career template through which generations of future social media stars like Brittany Furlan and the Fat Jew would be able to cultivate their own brands.
“It’s such an apropos time for a film like this. I don’t think there’s anybody that can say social media doesn’t play a part in their life, so it seemed like a perfect opportunity and the perfect time to come out with a film that can really unveil the highs and lows behind social media,” Marcus told Deadline, appearing with Hilton yesterday in Tribeca. “I think what we wanted to do is unveil the truth—the good, the bad, the ugly—and do it in an entertaining way.”
Speaking with Deadline, Hilton explained why The American Meme resonated with her. “I love every film that Bert has done, and when he told me about this project and the idea, it got me really excited because social media is something that I love,” she said. “He makes incredible work, and we had so much fun filming the past year and a half, all around the world.”
As Hilton addresses in the above video, the highs and lows of social media are very apparent in her on-camera interviews with Marcus for the film, in which she gets more vulnerable than she typically allows herself to be, explaining both the positive effect her social media following has had on her life—with her army of “Little Hiltons”—and the dark side of social media, from which the heiress and television personality hasn’t managed to emerged unscathed.
“A lot of people obviously met me from [reality series] The Simple Life, so they assumed I was this kind of ditzy blonde character, but in the film, I’m really honest, and I talk about a lot of things I’ve never spoken publicly about, really sharing my story,” Hilton explained. “I just saw the movie last week and I was just blown away. It makes you laugh, makes you cry, and I’m so excited for everyone to see [it].”
To hear more from Deadline’s conversation with Bert Marcus and Paris Hilton about the making of The American Meme—as Marcus contemplates the future of social media—click above.
The Deadline Studio at Tribeca is presented by Nespresso.