Filmmaker, Internet advocate, artist and activist, Tiffany Shlain is a woman of all trades. When she’s not blogging for The Huffington Post for her column “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” she’s jet-setting to the Sundance Film Festival for the premiere of one of her documentaries (or in this year’s case, two) or presiding over the Moxie Institute, an organization that uses film and new media to experiment with social issues.
Shlain marries the whimsical with the pertinent in her films, creating narrative documentaries that approach their subjects in a provocative way. By combining pop culture symbols with social issues, Shlain grabs the attention of her audience; her documentary The Tribe explored Jewish-American identity by tracing the history of the Barbie doll. It also became the first documentary-short to reach #1 on iTunes.
This year’s Sundance saw two films by Shlain, the only director at the festival who could boast of a double feature. The first, Yelp (With Apologies to Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’), focused on the positive aspects of unplugging from technology for a while. She also premiered a feature called Connected: An Autoblogography of Love, Death & Technology.
As someone who has been shaped by technology, Shlain also honors it; she created the Webby Awards in 1996 as a way of honoring the most creative new websites. While Shlain has taken strides to honor innovation, she also seems to be at the forefront of it.
What first drew you to filmmaking?
Annie Hall, The Godfather, Harold and Maude, Baraka, Monty Python and Fellini.
What drives you?
The chance to make a difference.
What was your experience at Sundance like?
A peak moment. Two films I directed in selection, amazing reviews, great responses from audiences and people who had always been heroes of mine. We had worked so hard for years so to come out of the editing room with this kind of response… it was a dream come true.
As someone who has been so involved with using technology, how would you describe your relationship to it?
Love, hate, hope.
What projects are you excited about in the future?
Our goal with our new film Connected is to start a global conversation about what it means to be connected in the 21st century. We’re just at the beginning of this journey to take this film into the world and start this dialogue. I’m excited about this part. I hope all of your readers will join us at connectedthefilm.com.
- Jenn Pries
This reading is by Lena, who has no idea this palm belongs to Tiffany Shlain.
1. Goal focused. Tends to know what they want and proceed directly towards it.
2. Their enjoyment of sensuous pleasures always needs to include the sensuous pleasures of the mind, of thought. Ideas and the texture of ideas delight them.
3. Not a gambler, but very much a chance taker, when the chance appears worth the risk.
4. An excellent communicator. Sensitive to the nuances of others, and able to think and express themselves well outside of the box.
5. Was not highly sexual until they fell in love. For this person, love makes all the difference sexually. It is the trust and the communication that is their turn-on.
6. To have and to hold. This is a person who strongly holds on to what they have: old flannel shirts, friends from kindergarten, family especially. Once you are a friend of this person, you always will be.
7. Their career is by choice, the following of their dreams, and will go in a very direct way to the achievement of their goals.
8. Good health, long life. In part because of innate genetics, but also because they actually do bother to eat well and take care of themselves. This will pay off. They are managing to extend the healthy time of their life well into old age through these actions.