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Channeling (2013)

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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 43 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 4 critic

A drama centered on people who seek validation by broadcasting their lives to as big an audience as possible.



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Title: Channeling (2013)

Channeling (2013) on IMDb 8.3/10

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Credited cast:
Wyatt Maddox
Ashleigh Maddox
Jonah Maddox
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Club Goer
Cute Diner Waitress


A drama centered on people who seek validation by broadcasting their lives to as big an audience as possible.

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5 April 2013 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Review from screening at Bath Film Festival
17 December 2013 | by (Bath, UK) – See all my reviews

First film from writer/director Drew Thomas set in the not too distant future where people have taken social media to a new level and broadcast their lives in real time through contact lenses which transmit to an app on their smartphones.

The film opens with an amusing advert in the style of real Google adverts. The below video was used in a viral marketing campaign and is not the actual one used in the film, but will give you an idea of what the film is centred around.

Doesn't seem so science-fiction now, does it? Maybe the not too distant future could even be next week! It does seem like the next logical, if not even more personal step up from blogs, youtube channels, reality TV and sharing of life moments on twitter and facebook.

The film starts with a car chase in which Wyatt Maddox (Taylor Handley) is driving accompanied with Tara (Kate French). We then later learn that this car chase ends fatally for Wyatt. The story then continues with Wyatt's soldier brother Jonah (Dominic Devore) returning home for the funeral. On discovering his brother's online existence under the channel name Wyld_Life, Jonah decides to pose as Wyatt and reawaken his channel in order to lure his killers.

Meanwhile, while the main story is unfolding there is a sub story in the form of Ashleigh Maddox (Skyler Day) the little sister of Wyatt and Jonah. She is at that impressionable high school age where having recognition and admiration from your peers seems like the most important thing to give you a sense of belonging. She is also a channeler and has her own fashion vlog. Here you see how she uses the vlog for online attention as she sits alone talking to herself in a mirror, but actually casting to thousands. She begins a relationship which she talks about and broadcasts through her channel. She later finds out that her boyfriend has been casting without her knowledge and during intimate times too.

Another sub story is about what people do to increase ratings, and therefore get sponsors to give them earning potential. Wyatt's angle was stealing cars, heightening his risk and also simultaneously boosting his ratings. Behind this are the sponsors which sell the advertising space on the casting channels to companies with a relevant product. Furthermore, this bred underground casinos where we saw the shadier side of being able to watch every moment of people's lives. Gamblers betted on people's life events in real time and long-term bets such as if a girl's pregnancy test would be positive or negative, and then if this led to abortion or keeping the baby.

This was an interesting film which shows the direction that social media could go and has gone in the past. From 2005 when Andrew Fischer auctioned his forehead for advertising space, to viral celebrity sex tapes, and the increased popularity of reality TV there definitely would be a market for what Channeling proposes the future of entertainment to be and our willingness to share more and more of our lives in order to get our 15 minutes of fame.

A Q&A session followed after the film, the distance between audience and director was approximately 5000 miles but through the wonders of Skype we heard the American accent of Drew Thomas as he sat in his car by a mountain in the glorious sunshine in California. Taking questions from the audience Drew said that he didn't feel that social media was to blame but that together with people it can be evil and pervasive. He showed this through the character of Ashley where he wanted to make the audience sympathise with her, however one festival audience member found her character annoying! But then I think that's how some people view social media, I find it particularly annoying when 'friends' of mine post every minute detail of their life – I definitely don't think I'll be tuning into livecasting channels in the near future, well, not unless they are doing something exciting…..

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