Girl Gang – Hot Docs 2022

Girl Gang

Girl Gang – Hot Docs 2022

Once upon a time, a 14-year-old social media influencer named Leonie lived on the outskirts of Berlin with her former East German father and mother. With her star on the rise, Leonie’s parents become her managers, but will they be able to guide and protect her despite knowing less than their daughter about the enormous economic possibilities and pitfalls of her online activities?

A German teenager aspires to be a successful social media influencer in . Leonie is a 14 year old in Berlin, who is growing in popularity has a social media influencer. Managed by her parents Andy and Sani, Leonie has to stick to a strict posting schedule and promote the brands who pay her. Elsewhere, a girl named Melanie develops a bond with Leonie, starting a fan page for the influencer.

With Girl Gang, director Susanne Regina Meures gives us a peek behind the curtain at the world of social media influencers, which is a career that reportedly 86% of teenagers aspire towards. Posting as @leoobalys, Leonie has amassed a dedicated following of thousands, who treat the teenager as if she was a pop-star. However, being an influencer is also hard work and not the perfect life that everyone envisions.

Girl Gang opens and closes with narrations that makes the life of social media influencers akin to a fairytale, with them communicating with their fans through magic ”black mirrors.” However, watching the film, you can't help but feel like Leonie is being pushed by her parents into this life of an influencer, both of whom leech on her success with their own influencer accounts. However, Girl Gang does balance things out with the side-story involved Leonie's fan Melanie, who undergoes her own level of growth. Criticisms of the documentary aside, as of this writing a now 18 year old Leonie has 1.6 million Instagram followers, so there much be something right about the career of an influencer.

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.