Even sex workers have boundaries. Never tell a client “I love you”, never fake an orgasm, and never do public shows. These are the rules camgirl Alice “Lola” abides by. When online clients start materializing in her real world and she suddenly can’t log into her camming account, panic starts to set in. With Alice locked out of the site, her online persona takes on a life of its own, taunting users with I-love-yous, and doing things that the real Lola would never do.
Screenwriter Isa Mazzei and director Daniel Goldhaber have co-authored a high-gloss nail-biter. Cam is a frightful look at not only sex workers’ realities, but also the way the Internet has affected society. Identity theft isn’t just about needing to redo a credit card or two. Millennials give out their phone number, use geo-tagging, and accept texts from complete strangers. Where is the shock, when their identity and privacy have been compromised? Are the 20-30-year olds just so carefree that they don’t see the danger? Or do they just not care about the dangers?
Madeline Brewer (Black Mirror, The Handmaid’s Tale) breathes both greed and innocence into Alice/Lola. Media might portray sex workers as rail-thin, slutty girls with enormous breasts, but Alice is an every-girl who only becomes larger than life when the web cam is turned on. The story is not so much about whether Lola is taken over by AI or if something supernatural is at play. Mazzei and Goldhaber instead wanted to focus on the fracturing of digital identity.
As can be expected due to its content, casting Lola was not smooth sailing, and Cam had been overlooked and rejected by potential producers. Finally, producers Isabelle Link-Levy and Adam Hendricks gladly took on the project. Together with a very hands-on team, the cast and crew put something together with limited budget and studio space. Even editor Daniel Garber was on set during the shoots. Although fictionalized, Mazzei – a former camgirl herself – brought some of her own bizarre experiences to the script.
The result is a visually striking piece of Cinema. It shows how online presence can easily lead to greed, competition, and the quest for adulation. It is also a warning about social media addiction. This is your future, Millennials. Think about that.
Cam – Friday, July 20th 3 PM – J.A. De Seve
Hosted by director Daniel Goldhaber, screenwriter Isa Mazzei and friends!