‘Mainstream’ dives into the toxic culture of social media influencers

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By María Estévez, MWN 

Seven years after her first film ‘Palo Alto,’ Gia Coppola brings to the screen ‘Mainstream,’ a satire on YouTubers and the toxic culture of social media influencers. The 34-year-old’s unique vision is bold and daring when describing the darkness of that aspect of society.

“This is the story of someone in love who doesn’t love herself. A young woman, who’s searching and trying to fill a certain void without knowing where to find that energy. This is an old tale of finding identity,” Coppola explained to Metro. “YouTube is a platform with room to be cinematic and that is fascinating. I didn’t understand why people are so connected to social media that are wonderful but also very dangerous.”

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She added: “When you expose yourself to the public, you have to deal with bigger issues than just technology and ego. You are so vulnerable and you are responsible for the people you surround yourself with. There is this beautiful line of romance in this woman who abandons creativity and morals to be loved. It is an old fashion idea, but it is something that still is going on and I am sentimental and I like fairy tales and satire.”

‘Mainstream’ tells the story of a young woman, Frankie (played by Maya Hawke), who is stuck working as a comedy club bartender with her best friend Jake (Nat Wolff). She is unsure of her path in life and one day meets Link (Andrew Garfield), a mysterious man who she films while he does anti-mainstream rants. These videos become viral and the three decide to form a creative partnership. However, with the success, Link quickly becomes the epitome of everything he once denounced, creating unethical controversy.

“The moral center of the story is Jake, played by the actor Nat Wolfe. He represents an inside voice which sometimes is ignored because he is not driven by his ambition,” Coppola said.

Director Gia Coppola.

Coppola has access to the international scene of fame — beyond her work in fashion or in cinema — as the granddaughter of Francis, niece of Roman and Sofía, and cousin of Nicholas Cage. And the latest revelation of the Coppola is a multifaceted artist, who has tried her luck with so-called fashion films, in advertising, in photography, and that has now become a part of Venice and Toronto festivals where ‘Mainstream’ was presented.

According to Coppola, having a famous last name can have advantages and disadvantages. It can be an immense burden that sinks the prestige of those who have it or it can become a gigantic platform that launches a complete stranger to stardom.

However, “if you don’t have a movie easy to pinpoint in a genre it is very difficult to find the support and finances. But everything in life comes at the right time so I’m proud of what we have done.”

She said: “I’m an artist and I have to do my job. I have my family’s support, and they are very well known in the industry but I have to make my own path and go through all the problems that all other young filmmakers like me go through.”

Emma Roberts and Maya Hawke—who are also members of Hollywood dynasties—star in the film. 

“I pick people based on their talent, not their last name. I love teen movies, and I haven’t seen any in a long time. I find my own voice when directing the film and to do everything myself,” Gia concluded.

‘Mainstream’ is now showing in theaters, VOD and digital platforms. 

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