From ‘Taxi Driver’ to Twitter, Tribeca Shortlist talks influences and inspirations with
Robert Mockler, Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson and Fessenden.
From ‘Taxi Driver’ to Twitter, Tribeca Shortlist talks influences and inspirations with
A haunting, neon-soaked fever dream that tackles the dangers of viral media and loneliness, first-time director Robert Mockler’s drama, Like Me, was unlike anything else I saw during the 2017 SXSW Film Festival, and features brilliant performances from Addison Timlin as Kiya and indie filmmaking icon Larry Fessenden as a man she kidnaps on her crime-fueled journey.
While in Austin, Daily Dead spoke with Mockler about his approach to the story of Like Me, his experiences collaborating with Timlin, how Fessenden became a mentor to him throughout the process of making his debut feature, and more.
“Like Me is a bombastic feature debut for Robert Mockler, benefitting heavily from visual artistry and Addison Timlin’s strong performance.” – We Got This Covered
SXSW comes to a close! We’ve gathered pics from throughout the festival, including the MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND and LIKE ME premieres and the GEP / Dogfish Pictures / Palomo Films party.
“What If There’s More To Tell?”
Film synopses are often misleading. To the point that I try not to read them. But when you’re sorting through festival screenings, synopses are usually ground zero. I gave the blurb for Robert Mockler’s Like Me little more than a casual glance and wrote it off as a tween ‘social media obsessed’ drama. Then I found a different movie to see in that time slot. But serendipity is beautiful thing. That other film’s screening was completely booked up. I Continue Reading »
When I was nineteen I spent three straight days without sleeping. I had just moved to Tokyo and couldn’t cope with the light pollution or the sounds from the trains that ran behind my flat. I would spend the nights listening to relaxing music and watch films during the day. On the third morning at around 4AM I made an instant coffee and decided to put on Enter the Void.
The first thing I heard after listening to a recording of Enya’s Paint The Sky With Stars on repeat for some three hours, and not having slept through two slow nights, was the Thomas Bangalter scored opening credits. I’d never again feel as disorientated as I was in those two and a half minutes; but watching Robert Mockler’s Like Me, I came close.
Like Me marks the first time Robert Mockler has been credited as a director and writer of a feature length film. The film, which premiered at this year’s SXSW Film Festival in Austin Texas, is eighty minutes of visual portraits pieced together by tactile transitions, lucid VFX and a millennial journey.
Addison Timlin plays Kiya, a young girl who amasses a huge social following after posting a video of herself holding up a convenience store with a replica weapon. She takes her newfound popularity on the road and begins to film her encounters with a string of unusual characters, eventually taking a paedophile, ‘Marshall’ (Larry Fessenden), hostage, to mixed reactions from the online community. An antagonistic vlogger, Burt (Ian Nelson), begins to take Kiya’s videos apart, and her journey becomes visceral as Burt begins to impact both her content and her psyche.
Kiya guides us through her journey. She tests the humanity of the characters she meets, finding that a vagabond doesn’t want much more than pancakes from a diner, or that a painter who believes there is no age of consent had lost his own daughter at a young age. Kiya studies these characters and presents them to us; but often she seems to be neither a part of the film nor the viewership. She’s more like the kid holding a magnifying glass over an anthill.
Addison Timlin is perfect as Kiya, even if the character is not a strictly formed one with laborious dialogue. She has again shown her ability to completely comprehend the characters she’s becoming. Like her performance in Little Sister, she brings a sense of palpability to the role and becomes so natural as Kiya that the film, in moments, feels kind of like an Addison Timlin vlog, like she’s simply playing herself (with exception of the scenes where she’s forcing food into Marshall’s throat and telling him, “you’re going to eat or you’re going to bleed”).
What makes Like Me so mystifying to the senses is the intense cinematography and editing. Every shot is beautiful. Every background, shadow and light setting progresses the film like a series of paintings, ushering the narrative from frame to frame as if it were an exhibition across a gallery wall. The lighting and colours filter the film in two schemes, the afternoon pink skies and radiant neon signs to moments of moonlight blue and shadow. Both ethereal and at every shot, meticulously thought out.
The experimentation behind the lens continues through to the cutting room floor with disorientating and innovative shots that mess with the audience and remove any limits to the camera’s function. Shots will revolve around rooms and bury through the floor, while actors become stuck in a glitch-like trance, moving in two-second motions, back and forth on loop.
It’s these scenes that make Like Me feel like one long hallucinogenic journey. Although not directing the film, drugs play a part in Kiya’s internal narrative and are managed in a tacitly accurate sense. Ketamine is blue and calm, and doesn’t make a lot of sense, MDMA is sense-altering and intense, where mushrooms give the film its ‘baby on the ceiling’ moment, as a snake slides from Marshall’s bullet wound and into the alternate dimension that has surrounded Kiya.
At times the film does get lost in its own eccentricity, sacrificing the plot beneath the layers of art. The balance between progressing the narrative while constantly combing it to assure its uniform in style throughout, tips slightly through the second half of the film. Scenes like Kiya chasing Burt through the streets of a sunny city before inexplicably arriving at a foggy beachfront leave viewers with a decision to make about the symbolism of each moment, and what’s been done just because it looked good.
The film is still one of the most refreshing indie debuts in a long time. It is an experiment in style and as well shot as any box office film released this decade. While the plot at times fades into its own aestheticism, the acting and the unique style excel the film into rare territory for contemporary cinema.
Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
LIKE ME premieres at SXSW Monday, March 13th at the Stateside Theater!
From Screen Anarchy:
The internet can be a weird and dark place, which is something I think anybody who has spent any amount of time online can agree on. How much online culture will grow to shape society versus how much society shapes online culture is still something to be seen played out around us but as we see a generation now reaching maturity having spent their entire lives inundated in broadband video and social media it’s clear enough that it’s doing something to us. And what that thing may be is very much the subject of Robert Mockler’s striking debut feature Like Me.
Two Glass Eye Pix pics, Rob Mockler’s LIKE ME and Ana Asensio’s MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND, will world premiere in competition at SXSW.
A reckless loner, desperate for human connection, sets out on a crime spree that she broadcasts on social media. Her reality quickly splinters into a surreal nightmare as her exploits spiral out of control. Cast: Addison Timlin, Ian Nelson, Larry Fessenden, Jeremy Gardner, Stuart Rudin, Nicolette Pierini. Written & Directed by Rob Mockler. Produced by Jenn Wexler. Producers: Jessalyn Abbott, Rob Mockler, James Belfer, Larry Fessenden. Executive Producers: Peter Phok, Leo Joseph, Anya Joseph, Anthony Gentile, John Gentile. A Dogfish Pictures / Glass Eye Pix production.
MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND
An undocumented young woman struggling to begin a new life in New York City is offered an opportunity she can’t pass up. But as day turns to night she discovers she’s been lured to the center of a dangerous game. Cast: Ana Asensio, Natasha Romanova, David Little, Nicholas Tucci, Larry Fessenden, Caprice Benedetti. Written & Directed by Ana Asensio. Produced by Jenn Wexler, Chadd Harbold, Ana Asensio. Producers: Larry Fessenden, Noah Greenberg. Executive Producers: Peter Phok, Gill Holland.
Fessenden also appears in Evan Katz’s SMALL CRIMES, also world premiering at SXSW.
More on these films coming soon. Check out the full SXSW lineup right here!
The GEP and Dogfish Pictures collaboration LIKE ME, directed by Rob Mockler, officially wraps principal photography. Indiewire has the story and the first official still from the film.
Stare Into the Face of a Disturbing Future in ‘Like Me’ First Look Photo
By Mike Lown
Back in March 2013, Indiewire named the indie thriller “Like Me” as its Project of The Month. Almost three years later, we can now share a first look at the end result, which recently completed principal photography.
The film is a collaboration between production companies Glass Eye Pix (“House of the Devil,” “Wendy and Lucy”) and Dogfish Pictures (“Compliance,” “Prince Avalanche,” and “Like Crazy”), who funded the project as part of their Dogfish Accelerator program. “Like Me” is the directorial debut of screenwriter and filmmaker Rob Mockler. The plot takes on our society’s ever-increasing addiction to technology. Addison Timlin (“Fallen”) plays Kiya, a discontented loner who documents her own crime spree through social media, which provokes a disturbing Internet following.
Discussing the film’s production in an office statement, Mockler said, “It was a truly magical experience working with such a dedicated and collaborative cast and crew. Addison crafted an incredibly nuanced performance and brought Kiya to life with an unnerving realism. She never failed to surprise me.”
Filming commenced on December 1, 2015 all around New York, starting in Brooklyn before heading to Rockaway Beach and Woodstock. Check out the first look photo above.