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Anything for Fame

All Show, No Dough: Banff Filmmakers Reveal Fame’s Fickle Fortune

Two Banff filmmakers pull back the curtain on the not-so-glamorous life of social media influencers

Tyler Funk and Sebastian Mercado’s first feature film, “Anything for Fame,” investigates the motivations of social media influencers. The film also tackles the misconception that influencers get rich from viral followings.

The creative pair of filmmakers hail from Banff, where they first learned filming skills in high school. From there, they further honed their skills at the University of British Columbia’s Cinema Studies program.

The filmmakers, Tyler on the left and Sebastian on the right | Anything for Fame

They continue to work together at a Vancouver-based production company, North of Now, working on commercials and completing work on Anything for Fame.

The tantalizing 84-minute feature documentary peeks behind the curtain of viral influencers’ seemingly glitter-strewn lives to reveal… a fistful of digital dust.

Despite follower counts hitting millions and view counts soaring to the hundreds of millions, internet influencers aren’t exactly diving into Scrooge McDuck-esque money bins.

“I think the biggest shock for us really was for some of the creators who literally had millions of followers and hundreds of millions of views that they’d monetized next to nothing; I mean, they made almost like $0,” reveals Funk.

The dynamic duo doesn’t just stop at debunking digital delusions; they wade into the wild waters of influencer insanity – the anything-for-views mentality that drives Influencers.

Anything for Fame” is a rollercoaster ride through the modern-day gold rush of influencer culture.

A stunt performed by Peter Teatime, one of the Influencers featured in the Anything for Fame film  | Instagram

It documents tongue-to-toilet-seat shenanigans during a global pandemic (yes, you read that right) to heists worthy of a Hollywood movie (except, it’s a Subway sandwich shop, and the ‘actor’ gets an all-expenses-paid trip to the slammer). 

To make the film, Funk and Mercado hustled hard, reaching out to about 250 Influencers to find 25 that responded and were willing to appear on film. They spent 70 days filming all over North America.

Once the filming was complete, they sifted through enough footage to fill the Grand Canyon to spotlight five influencers who embody the extreme ends of the viral spectrum.

In the end, Funk stated, “I just have a lot of empathy now, understanding a bit more of how much it’s really just people that want to create content, they want to be entertainers, and how much this machine, social media, encourages behaviour that is self-destructive or destructive to those around them.”

If you’re ready to swap your rose-tinted glasses for a pair that’s a little more reality-checked, check out “Anything for Fame” on the National Film Board of Canada‘s website, where the price of admission is just your time.

And who knows? You might come away with more empathy and understanding of what it truly means to chase fame in the age of the ‘gram.

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