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EXCLUSIVE: Kenner, Weiss Talk HBO Doc "When Strangers Click"

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood January 28, 2011 at 7:48AM

HBO doc When Strangers Click premieres Valentine's Day. Below, director Oscar nominee Robert Kenner (Food, Inc.) and producer Marc Weiss answer some questions about why they made this film about finding love and human connection online, as well as their process: What was the most surprising thing you learned during the making of When Stranger Click?
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Thompson on Hollywood


HBO doc When Strangers Click premieres Valentine's Day. Below, director Oscar nominee Robert Kenner (Food, Inc.) and producer Marc Weiss answer some questions about why they made this film about finding love and human connection online, as well as their process:


What was the most surprising thing you learned during the making of When Stranger Click?

Robert Kenner, Director: How rapidly online dating has gone from weird to mainstream. And how widespread it is now.

What was the biggest challenge?

Marc Weiss, Producer:  Finding good stories! And beyond that, finding stories that tell us about more than just online dating. This is a prototype for a series we want to do, where people will submit stories and we'll choose a few of the most compelling stories to film. It's easy to get stories when you have a broadcast -- just announce it on-air. But very hard when you don't yet have a show on the air. We had to work hard for months to get maybe a hundred stories and be able to pick and choose the ones we wanted to tell.

Who is this film for?

Kenner: Anybody who's interested in dating, romance, human connection -- and how they're changing in the digital age.  

Why did you choose to follow up Food, Inc. with a film on such a different topic?

Kenner: I wanted to take time away from making purely social action films.  It's been fun making an entertaining film about the way in which we are changing as a society. For example, it was really amazing getting to play in "Second Life" -- to actually go inside a virtual world, and to enter the story as a character.  As a film maker I love getting to fool around with the medium. I had to find ways to take this topic on in a really filmic manner.  There were unique, brand new challenges -- having to create new filmic language -- new ways to tell a story.  It was a great adventure, which it will hopefully be for the audience as well."

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This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Interviews , TV, Documentaries, Romance, HBO


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.