Located in the cultural melting pot of Los Angeles, John Marshall High School has a student body that represents over ninety different countries. In CHAIN CAMERA, director Kirby Dick (SICK: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF BOB FLANAGAN) relinquishes the video camera to let the students of this multicultural East Hollywood high school tell their own stories. Taking a new approach to the documentary genre, Dick decided to hand out video cameras in August of 1999 to ten teenagers in order for them to document their own lives for a week, at which point the cameras were passed on to ten more students, and so on. The finished film introduces sixteen different students, whose incredibly varied backgrounds shed light on just how diverse a population this actually is. Poignant issues of racism, heritage, abandonment, as well as the mere struggle of learning to live comfortably within one's own skin, intermingle with more lighthearted moments, resulting in a surprisingly optimistic, intimate portrait of adolescence in early 21st Century America. Where CHAIN CAMERA succeeds even further is in its striking ability to speak upon the universality of adolescence, proving that no matter the situation, teenagers are basically the same underneath.
- Grand Jury Prize, Documentary (Nominee)
2001 Sundance Film Festival (Park City, United States)