News from the Consulate - Cape Town
Webby Awards Founder Tiffany Shlain Connects on the Cape
“Technology is clearly changing us and the way we connect with our friends, families, and the world around us,” independent American filmmaker Tiffany Shlain told a Cape Town audience on June 10. Shlain is founder of the Webby Awards, which recognize excellence on the internet, and the creator of several critically acclaimed films including “The Tribe” and “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Screened for the first time in South Africa, Shlain’s newest film, “Connected -- an Autoblogography about Love, Death, & Technology,” was featured at this year’s Encounters International Film Festival. Shlain also discussed her work with local film students at the Big Fish School of Digital Filmmaking.
Over 100 South African film students, instructors, members of the local media, and representatives from local film companies attended Shlain’s screenings and presentations in Cape Town. The U.S. Consulate helped sponsor Shlain’s visit to South Africa.
Shlain said she was very excited that more and more people are making their own independent films through the process of “cloud filmmaking,” which she described as a place “where there are no gatekeepers to prevent individuals from creating and sharing their own thoughts, ideas, and films.” The climax of Shlain’s film “Connected” is punctuated with an excerpt from a speech she gave at the University of California at Berkeley. “For centuries we have been declaring independence and perhaps it is time to finally declare our interdependence,” Shlain said.
Shlain’s work deals with the impact of technology, social interaction, and human behavior in a profoundly personal way. In “Connected,” for instance, she speaks movingly of the way her thinking has been shaped by the work, and ultimately the death, of her father, the surgeon and author Leonard Shlain. She explained, “all we want to do is connect . . . connect through love, through pain, through expression.”