In 2011, photographer Tanja Hollander decided to visit each one of her Facebook “friends” (all 626 of them) in their homes and make formal portraits of each of them.
Armed with her cameras and iPhone Tanja traveled throughout the U.S. and around the world for 5 years, meticulously documenting her experiences in real time and creating a historical narrative, both visual and written, along the way.
Her project is an exploration of friendships, the effects of social networks, the intimate places we call home and the communities in which we live.
Quiet Film and Culture Dog Films crafted the film, “Are You Really My Friend?” using these digital images which Tanja shot on a series of iPhones and point and shoot cameras. Editing is close to completion and we are now looking for finishing funds for the project. The funds raised will go towards our music score, professional audio mix, color correction, graphics and marketing as we bring the film to you and to more and more audiences around the world.
"Are You Really My Friend?" is a documentary based on Tanja's 5 years of travels and discoveries. In her travels, Tanja amassed over a half million pictures and videos. She documented everything, including the night she spent in her car during a hurricane. Portland Press Herald writer Bob Keyes beautifully captured the emotion of that experience while interviewing Robin Greenspun, Producer/Director, in his article, "TANJA HOLLANDER FINDS ANSWERS TO 'ARE YOU REALLY MY FIREND?'"
Hollander recounted the harrowing night on the highway and her growing loneliness. "And as we were talking about it, she was starting to re-examine what it meant to be on the road all by herself, and was she alone or was she lonely?"
A filmmaker, Greenspun offered to help Hollander make a movie about her experience. Hollander declined, because she was too busy. Instead, Greenspun talked Hollander into trusting her with her hard drives with those 100,000 images and make the movie herself. It is part of the installation.
"The film is all found footage. Tanja shot it all during the travel, not knowing what she should do with it. She just did it. She wanted to document everything, so she shot everything," Greenspun said.
It is during an interview sequence in the movie where Hollander admits to herself her fears, exhaustion and loneliness. It is a poignant moment because of the honesty of her confession, and a pivotal moment in the project, because it was then she realized "Are You Really My Friend?" wasn't so much about her friends and friendships, but about herself.
"I really believe Tanja discovered herself on this trip," Greenspun said. "She set out to discover what other people think of friendship from an anthropological and sociological perspective - what does friendship mean in this social media area? But what the project is really about, I believe, is what happened to Tanja through her experiences and the people she met."
The film will be part of Tanja’s exhibition at MASS MoCA beginning February 18, 2017 with an opening reception on March 18, 2017. Yes, this February and March! The exhibition will be the first time the project has been seen in its entirety and the film production team feels incredibly privileged to be part of the exhibition.
We are looking to you to help finalize our film which reveals the depths of Tanja’s explorations and discoveries while alone on the road for so many years. With Tanja’s help, we have crafted our rewards to include something unique for every level! Take a look and please spread the word. Your help is greatly appreciated and every dollar truly is important.
Be sure to follow Tanja on all her social media channels. You'll be able to check out her work and keep tabs on her ongoing adventures.
Here is a clip from the film to give you a taste of what’s coming:
HOUSTON: THE HURRICANE
Here are a few examples of Tanja’s most recent commissioned portraits. For a look at more portraits from her project, be sure to check out the “Portraits” link on her website.
Risks and challenges
The risks associated with this project are slim to none. The majority of the project is complete. We are now looking at the completion of the film. This film is an integral part of Tanja’s exhibition and it must have the same high quality and attention to detail as the rest of her exhibition.
The challenge with this project, is time. We are up against a hard deadline, but we can make it with your help. We will work day and night to complete this film and get it ready for the exhibit and for you.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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