#Trending, the film
A college Halloween party is haunted by an unexpected drowning of a friend. However, this death wasn’t by accident and was filmed with the intent to make a statement throughout the news and social media.
The story follows a group of friends as they try to shake off the stress of college life. It’s Halloween and their costumes make ironic statements about how each sees the world. Yet, when one friend is found dead, they are all shocked into sober reality. However, how she died and the intent behind it goes much deeper than the small, inner circle of their friendships. It opens to the wide net of racism, gun violence and the power that social media provides for all movements.
#Trending was developed for the Masters of Acting Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville by visiting Artist in Residence, Paul Kampf. This is the first step in helping the stage acting program move in front of the camera to gain the necessary experience to aid in making a living in the arts.
However, it was equally important to create a socially challenging and timely story. The goal of the film is to ignite discussion around the controversial themes and events of the film.
The ability to generate video content and communicate one’s point of view around the world in a matter of seconds, democratizes the extreme among us. No longer does someone on the fringe of society have to accept that their voice will never be heard. An unspeakable act of violence or bigotry will be noticed in everyone’s personal feeds precisely because of our insatiable appetite for shocking content.
Once man with a singular point of view is determined to do what is necessary for the good of his cause. That is no different than self sacrifice in the name of religion or any other belief that propels us to show the world that we are right. With the world as his audience, the zealot can now broadcast his righteousness, no matter the cost.
#Trending is a haunting comment on the role social media plays in our fanatical need to be noticed for our personal beliefs.