Artscapes: “Follow Friday” at NB Film Fest

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By Eli Heller | NB Indy

"Follow Friday" director Erin Faulk and cinematographer Matthew  Sordello.
“Follow Friday” director Erin Faulk and cinematographer Matthew Sordello.

“I hate those things where people ask you for money,” Erin Faulk tweeted in early 2010. “By the way, here’s the link to Kickstarter campaign.”

Faulk had recently been laid off her job at a law firm in Los Angeles, and decided to use her extra time for something she had always wanted to do—travel the country meeting her Twitter followers in person and document the experience on film.

Faulk was asking for $15,000 to make her film and felt that her Twitter followers – her truest friends – might be willing to help.

By the end of the day, Faulk had raised $4,500.

“Follow Friday,” premiering April 25 (and repeating April 30) at the Newport Beach Film Festival, is the successful execution of Faulk’s idea.

Grand-Canyon-Sign“I don’t think you understand that they’re like, actual real life friends,” Faulk explains to her husband Adam near the beginning of the film. “And I know that, and I know as much about some of them as I know about friends that I’ve known for a decade.”

“I don’t doubt that. I mean that’s all it is, telling people about the shit you’ve done,” Adam replies, unconvinced.

Mildly frustrated, Faulk devises a plan—to prove to Adam, and anyone watching, that Twitter is not just babble. That there are one million new twitter accounts created every day, that meeting people on twitter is just like making a new friend in person, and finally, that online interaction actually leads to more physical interaction between people.

Faulk and her friends (and crew members) Matt, Evans, and Hassan, leave from her home in Glendale and spend the next 40 days meeting friends she had previously only known online.

She makes her first stop in Las Vegas, and continues on to Austin, Fort Worth, New Orleans, Atlanta, and many other American cities.

Faulk was born in Bakersfield, but grew up on military bases in Tennessee, Alabama, Washington state, Vienna, Austria, and Saudi Arabia, to name a few. In her 12 years of grade school, Faulk attended 12 different schools.

“One thing I love about Twitter is that it has no location,” Faulk, 31, said.

As “Follow Friday” progresses, it proves to be as much about Faulk’s unique road trip across America as the social networking tool itself.

Interview by interview, “Follow Friday” demonstrates exactly how Twitter unites people. The film is divided into sections: “Twitter is: a news source, a community, an abbreviation.”

Faulk’s journey is effective not just in demonstrating how easily Twitter promotes the spread of information between individuals thousands of miles away from one another, but also the drastic changes the network makes to Faulk’s own life—she returns to L.A. with a hash tag tattooed on her arm, per her followers’ suggestion.

The film’s pleasant tone, relaxed pace and feel-good soundtrack make for a pleasant and though-provoking watch.

“Follow Friday” has everything that a modern documentary should have: a focus on the power of social media, a charismatic and relatable lead character, and a lot of heart.

“Follow Friday” screens April 25, at 5:45 p.m. at South Coast Village Theater, and April 30, at 2:30 p.m. at Fashion Island Cinema. For tickets, visit NewportBeachFilmFest.com.   

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