Sunday, August 29, 2010


Adrian Grenier plays an actor on HBO's Entourage who finds Fame, discovering the highs and lows of Celebrity alongside his group of childhood friends - his Entourage. Life often imitates Art as they say and Grenier turns the tables on Fame in his intriguing documentary Teenage Paparazzo.

While attending a party one night, the actor notices a young Paparazzo snapping multiple shots of him, then running away when Grenier confronts him. The boy's name is Austin Visschedyk, a then-13 year-old Paparazzo, seasoned far beyond his naive appearance. Visschedyk's claim to fame with Celebrities is the fact that he is young, disarming Celebrities like Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Michelle Rodrigues and many, many more (who are interviewed in the film) in order to acquire the shots that fetch hundreds to thousands of dollars per photo.

Grenier becomes fixated of Visschedyk, following him as he chases Celebrities around Hollywood, sometimes at 3:00 AM on a school night. The boy is very good at what he does of course and what Grenier wants to understand is why the Paparazzi are so drawn to this chaotic life. While examining this, he is met with resistance from some of Visschedyk's Paparazzi friends and resentment from the boy himself as he delves deeper into that subculture.

With media attention being drawn to Visschedyk increasingly, Grenier soon finds that he too is "stalking" the boy, creating somewhat of a Monster. We see first hand what notoriety is doing to the boy and Grenier is forced to accept responsibility for this. Along the way, we get insights from Celebrities who have encountered Visschedyk. Particularly interesting is that Paris Hilton co-operates willingly with the project, lending her thoughts on the incestuous relationship between Celebrity and Paparazzi. That is, she finds them annoying, yet is cognizant of the fact that she depends on these people in being a Celebrity who is defined by the Camera. Without Paparazzi, the public are unable to maintain "para-social relationships" with Celebrities via Tabloids, Blogs, Magazines and Entertainment Programs on Television.

Adrian Grenier's Teenage Paparazzo is a sobering look at society's obsession with Celebrity and it is effective in communicating its objectives. You might even walk away feeling a bit terrified by it all; an important and engaging film.  It is now in limited release in Toronto and Vancouver via Mongrel Media.  Grade: A

Don't forget to check out these pics I got from the Toronto premiere of Teenage Paparazzo earlier this week with Grenier in attendance!

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