As San Franciscans (or really, as grown-up Americans), we like to consider ourselves independent: independent from our parents, our families, our hometown and each other.
But in her new Sundance-approved film Connected, opening tonight, local filmmaker Tiffany Shlain asks, "Have you ever faked a restroom trip to check your email?"
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In Connected, Shlain takes a good look at the reality of our interdependence and its evolution, highlighting how technology has launched us into a state of permanent connectivity. "It's a fact of life at this point," she said to The Huffington Post.
Shlain is an admitted technology junkie (she founded the Webby Awards for pete's sake), and set out to make a film about technology, and how it has changed humanity forever.
But two years into the project, Shlain suffered a high-risk pregnancy and lost her father to brain cancer. "I quickly learned about another component: emotional interdependence," Shlain explained. "When you lose a father, it opens up a lot of questions about connections and broken connections."
The result is part-documentary, part-memoir, backed by a stellar team of filmmakers, including the executive producers of the Academy Award-winning documentary Born Into Brothels.
Besides glowing reviews from movie gatekeepers like Sundance Film Festival ("utterly original and enormously satisfying") and The Hollywood Reporter ("a highly energized romp through a myriad of ideas about where the human race is headed"), Shlain's Connected has also received the Holy Grail of documentary endorsement: a nod from Al Gore:
"Tiffany Shlain demonstrates, with lyrical simplicity, our interdependence on one another and the interconnectedness of humanity with all life on earth. With a tightly synchronized dance between her powerful images and insightful words -- with humor, and with a creativity all her own, Tiffany illuminates the issues that affect us all -- including environmental degradation, dizzying technological innovation and population growth -- and helps us to understand our inter-relationship with the world in a way that is both freeing and inspiring. Throughout, she also presents and honors the deep wisdom of her late father, Leonard Shlain, reminding us of the deepest connections that breathe meaning into life."
Surely, Shlain got more than she bargained for when she signed up for a movie about technology. "But halfway through, I realized that I couldn't make a film about interdependence without exploring my own experience with it."
Check out the trailer below, and click here to find out where Connected opens tonight: