SXSW REVIEW: $ELLEBRITY

By Mark Saldana

 

            For a little over thirty years, Kevin Mazur has had a successful and respected career as a Hollywood photographer.  He has witnessed the de-evolution of the profession as it has gone from a respectful art and craft to one embracing the lowest common denominator.  Inspired by this history, Mazur decided to make a documentary examining the phenomenon of celebrity photography from its better respected roots to its now often-derided tabloid and trashy approach.  Mazur examines the entire phenomenon addressing the issues of public life, privacy, and the impact on the children of celebrities.  Mazur does an excellent job presenting this topic from various perspectives.  He features interviews with Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Jennifer Aniston, and Sheryl Crow.  He also presents the work of paparazzi from its much more humble roots to its much more aggressive present and future.

            I have to say that Mazur really impressed me with his insightful and relevant documentary.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Mazur and his producer Tricia Nolan on the red carpet at their premiere at SXSW.  When asked what inspired this documentary, Nolan stated, “As a father, Kevin has seen a lot of scary stuff around the celebs’ kids and was really uncomfortable with this and was illuminating the dangers faced by these children.” Still, it was the goal of the filmmakers to present a well-rounded and unbiased “roundtable” of entertainment journalism, the tabloids, and the paparazzi.  They do succeed in making an informative documentary, but at the same time don’t really offer too many solutions other than discouraging people from purchasing tabloids and contributing hits to tabloid web sites.   Sheryl Crow, who contributes a very personal story regarding her cancer scare to the film, arrived late to the screening, but obviously supports Mazur’s project and feels strongly about this dark side of fame.

 

 

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