NEW YORK, Feb. 20, 2019  – “Public Figure” is a documentary that investigates the lives of influencers from around the world as well as the psychological and addictive effects of social media in society.  Produced and directed by New York documentary filmmaker Brian Corso, “Public Figure” features social media influencers and public figures around the world, by looking into their everyday lives and how they deal with fame, money, hate and obsession. “Public Figure” will premiere at the much-touted Manchester United Kingdom Film Festival on Saturday, March 9, 2019.

Mr. Corso adroitly chronicles the evolution of social media influencers and how they’ve converted the often mundane into bona fide riches by sharing their experiences with their hordes of followers on Instagram, Snapchat and other online platforms. The film follows famous Canadian fitness expert Gregory O’Gallagher, Australian lifestyle blogger Emma Rose, adventure travel photographer Emmert Sparling, food and travel bloggers Greg and Rebecca Remmy, Chicago-born Instagram comedian Donterio Hundon, New York comedian Sebastian Tribbe, and Bonang Matheba who, with 3 million online followers, established a social media mini-dynasty from her home in South Africa.

Yet the film took a dramatic turn when “Public Figure” executive producer Kameron Ramirez suggested the team talk to a number of psychologists about the impact of social media on society, and on its users. Upon consulting noted New York psychotherapist Harris Stratyner, Ph.D. (who appears in the film), the film saw a seismic shift in direction. “We realized then that this film is really going somewhere else,” Mr. Corso explains.

The ‘somewhere else’ probes the psychological impact of both influencers and their followers spending countless hours obsessed with the tally of ‘Likes’ and positive feedback generated following every posting on social media platforms.

We learn that it’s not uncommon for influencers to wake up in the wee hours to check the level of success of the previous evening’s social media posts. The meme lifestyle can be lucrative, yes, but it also comes at a cost: “Public Figure” examines the addictive nature of social media, the fervor to generate attention online, the pursuit of sponsorships and remuneration, and the ‘rinse and repeat’ nature of the social media lifestyle. All of this, the film observes, at the expense of cultivating offline relationships outside the reach of the smartphone, tablet and laptop.

View the “Public Figure” trailer here: