‘Like Me’ Film Review SXSW 2017 Indie Debut of Robert Mockler - Exclusive Interview of the Visual Art in the Depicted World of Social Media

The film ‘Like Me’ had its world premiere at SXSW 2017 and it won the category of Excellence in the Poster Design with a Special Jury Recognition Designer: Jeremy Enecio.

Kiya, the main character, played by “Addison Timlin, is a lonely and artistic young woman who after posting a video of herself while robbing a convenience store, amasses a huge social media following after posting a video on YouTube.  The video catches the attention of a young and attractive man Burt who is played by "Ian Nelson." Burt is a clever mastermind and also one of the most top rated influencers in social media.  He gives very bold, sharp, and impertinent monologs on replies of the posted videos by Kiya. Burt becomes the voice of the whole audience for Kiya and she tries to prove him wrong. She is a reckless loner who seeks some form of genuine human connection and feels validated by the responses of her viral videos. Through her travels, she encounters a drifter called Marshall who is played by "Larry Fessenden." Marshall is an Internet troll and a paint huffing outsider who is pulled into her circle of chaos, junk food, and drugs.  In a world of fabricated personalities, Kiya is intent on exposing something guttural and truthful about humanity, but ultimately, she must confront herself.  The final of the movie is fatal but interesting at the same time.

The movie ‘Like Me’ marks the first time Robert Mockler has been credited as a director, writer, producer, and editor of a feature length film. The director is, in fact, a creative and artistic filmmaker.   ‘Like Me’ and the genre of this film could be his trademark in the future. He deserves a lot of credit for his profound effort, ambition and most of all his deep desire of making his first dream film into reality and producing it as a rare and unconventional film.  His film can be compared to an abstract painting, a special visual art depicted in the world of today’s social media. The social media world for many people is difficult to understand as it's a virtual reality for many people. This movie expresses the drama of peoples' real and serious issues that play out darkly in the damaged mind of the main character, a young and introverted woman Kiya, played by Addison Timlin.  Kiya's mind is distorted due to narcotics, and the visual effects in the movie accurately represent the blurry distortion and hallucinatory sequences caused by the drugs, while the music score played in the movie elevates the audience to a state of the satirical world of the loony mind of  Kiya just like a VR experience.  Kiya’s obsessive compulsive ways of making her viral videos give her a path to make a meaningful life, but with a devastating and morbid purpose created by her own fears, desires, and loneliness.  The movie ‘Like Me’ marks down a genuinely important milestone for a first-time filmmaker.

The beginning of the movie has a restless introduction with the visual effects, but while the viewer feels anxious while watching it at first, he then becomes mesmerized and more interested in finding out the outcome of the movie.  The film is a reflection of a society that doesn’t feel loved or understood and the only way to find approval is through social media which is perhaps the only way of communication that social media addicts know to express themselves in the solitary world of a generation that wants to be heard.  

Yenis Monterrey Exclusive Interview.

Yenis Monterrey.- The visual, the colors of the films were the main components of the film and the music also, it felt to me like art or a dream. The movie has an artistic vibe and I wanted to find out at the same time while watching the film a little bit more about Kiya’s character.  Is there anything else that you would like to add Robert?

Robert Mockler.- The main premise of the film is about a young woman who mocks a crime and documents it through social media, in this case, YouTube, but for me particularly is about a woman who is lonely and has fractured relationships.

Yenis Monterrey.- It’s somehow very refreshing to watch a female psycho on a film about social media addiction since most likely this kind of roles are portrayed by male figures.  I think there are many women out there mentally disabled, compulsive, and have social media as their main source of entertainment.  The mystery of Kiya in the movie tricks the mind of the viewer.  Did you plan the film like that?

Robert Mockler.- I like to keep out the part of her past on my film as much as possible. I think this is part of the beauty of the film and it is what make the audience ask the same questions as you do, so I don’t want to spoil any of that.

Yenis Monterrey.- Since you are the Director, Producer, and Scriptwriter of the film, I’m assuming the film has a lot of you from the beginning to the end? How did you find the motivation?

This project was a 5 years journey for me, my apartment was like a giant board for the movie for a very long time, essentially it has like a wallpaper of photographs in my entire apartment. I was collecting different ideas from costumes, colors, and locations. It was like getting the essence and energy of my film. It was very significative to put everything on my walls and when I was waking up every day and I was saying to myself, “I’m going to figure out how to make this movie, period.” It became my daily method of motivation in making my movie a reality.

Yenis Monterrey.- Larry, I really loved your role as “Marshall” tell me about your journey as a producer and an actor in the film?

Larry Fessenden.- I read the script first as a producer. I thought at the moment about the tone of the movie and I found myself asking about if it was going to be harsh, aggressive, or if it was going to be about analyzing the loneliness of the characters due to the context of our modern communication and technology. I really like the concept of the film, but I was worried about the tone and then I met Robyn and I realized that it was going to be a great exploration. The last thing I expected was to be part of the cast as “Marshall” while everything was coming along together.  I wasn’t convinced at first about being part of the cast, because as a producer I wanted the best choice of the character of “Marshall” for the movie and I took this detail over my own ego, and then I said, Why not?  It could be great and fun to get into this character who I could relate to.  My character is a total outsider and he sees the opportunity with the young woman ”Kiya” played exceptionally by Addison Timlin. “Marshall” my character would probably think he was going to be alone, and having the same uneventful life with the drugs he usually takes, and being regretful about his past. The crazy events he lived with “Kiya” was something fun for him and he had a life experience with the young and awkward  “Kiya”.

Yenis Monterrey.- I think you did an admirable performance for the troublesome “Kiya.” Addison, you really nailed the role portraying a young woman addicted to likes and views on YouTube, and also addicted to drugs. You portrayed the seclusion and friendlessness of “Kiya” accurately. How did you grow into your role as Kiya?

Addison Timlin.- I talked a lot with the director Robert Mockler about “Kiya” purpose of being viral sensationalist on YouTube, but “Kiya” is also an artist. I think that artists, in general, are lonely people that are trying to connect with the world through their work because they struggle in their life. I relate a lot to artists and loners, and I think I inherited my loneliness as well. Somehow when I read the script I fall in love with my character because I relate to her, but I evolved my character as “Kiya” over time.

Yenis Monterrey.- Ian, I really enjoyed your brief, but a strong role as Burt, the YouTube war between “Burt and Kiya” became an obsession for both of them. What can you add about this extreme situation between the characters?

Ian Nelson.- My character Burt is introverted and I think he had a crush on Kiya, but it is one of those crushes when you are young and bully someone else because you don't understand all of your feelings.  My character Burt created the impression on his Youtube channel that he had some serious issues personal with Kiya and that for me as an actor ended up to be very interesting.

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Follow Yenis Monterrey (Writer) Twitter @Foxactress Instagram @YenisMonterrey

#SXSW Follow SXSW @sxsw

'Like Me' Instagram:  @likememovie

 

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