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Generation Wealth


     

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For the past 25 years acclaimed photographer and filmmaker Lauren Greenfield (The Queen of Versailles, Thin, kids+money, #likeagirl) has travelled the world, documenting with ethnographic precision and an artist’s sensitivity a vast range of cultural movements and moments. Yet, after so much seeking and searching, she realized that much of her work pointed at one uniting phenomenon: wealth culture. With her new film, Generation Wealth, she puts the pieces of her life’s work together for in an incendiary investigation into the pathologies that have created the richest society the world has ever seen. Spanning consumerism, beauty, gender, body commodification, aging and more, Greenfield has created a comprehensive cautionary tale about a culture heading straight for the cliff’s edge. Generation Wealth, simultaneously a deeply personal journey, rigorous historical essay, and raucously entertaining expose, bears witness to the global boom-bust economy, the corrupted American Dream and the human costs of capitalism, narcissism and greed.

PRODUCTION TEAM

Written and Directed by Lauren Greenfield

Produced by Frank Evers

Produced by Lauren Greenfield

Produced by Wallis Annenberg

Executive Producers
Regina K. Scully
Lilly Hartley & Jeffrey Tarrant
Geralyn Dreyfous

Music by Jeff Beal

Edited by
Aaron Wickenden, ACE
Michelle Witten
Victor Livingston
Dan Marks

Line Producer Jennifer Kobzik

Consulting Producers Danielle Renfrew Behrens
Keven McAlester

Cinematography

Robert Chappell
Lauren Greenfield
Shana Hagan
Jerry Risius
Lars Skree


Generation Wealth Photo Editor
and Exhibition Curator Trudy Wilner Stack


Editorial Consultants Mary Lampson
Robb Moss
Pedro Kos

Co-Producers
Sandra Keats
Julie Frankel

Associate Producer Keri Oberly

CAST

Cathy: We meet Cathy as a 31-year-old school bus driver from Virginia, who goes to Brazil to undergo a tummy tuck, a breast augmentation, a nose job, liposuction, and a Brazilian butt lift—all without general anaesthesia and all paid for by credit card. Checking in with her in the years since then, we learn that fixing her body has created financial problems for Cathy and may have contributed to a family tragedy.

Florian: A 55-year-old former hedge-fund manager whose net worth was at one time $800 million, Florian has fled the United States to avoid arrest by the FBI on charges of defrauding investors. Released on a technicality after 15 months in an Italian prison, he now lives in his native Germany, which will not extradite him. He claims to regret his former fixation on making money, saying that he was trapped in his own ambition and a “hamster in a diamond-studded, gold wheel.”

Conrad: Conrad is Florian’s son, who reflects on growing up with vast wealth but a distant, absent father. Conrad recalls one effort at father-son bonding, when Florian, fed up with 15-year-old Conrad’s shyness around girls, took him to lose his virginity to a prostitute. Conrad paid with a jar of coins he’d collected.

Kacey/Daveney/Courtney: At age 22 a successful porn star sought after for her child-like physique, Kacey gained brief notoriety after Charlie Sheen paid her $30,000 for a days-long party that landed him in the hospital with a drug overdose. At 27, Kacey has seen the dark side of fame, posting a video of her suicide attempt on YouTube and going bankrupt from the ensuing medical bills, and decides to start fresh with a new name, a new body (breast implants and a nose job) and a pregnancy.

Valbjörn: A fisherman by trade, Valbjörn became one of many Icelanders who went to work in banks during the go-go years of the early 2000s, when the country made a highly leveraged bid to turn itself into a global financial center. He talks about the boom time, when he and others like him rushed to buy luxury cars and build houses with magazine-ready décor, saunas, and state-of-the-art appliances. Laid off when the 2008 financial crisis hit, Valbjörn returned to fishing and a quieter life that he says makes him happier.

Cliff (G-Mo): Greenfield met Cliff while working on her 1997 first book, Fast Forward, about growing up in Los Angeles. We meet Cliff in 1995 as a 20-year-old rapper called G-Mo making his first music video (“Ballin’”) and celebrating hip-hop’s new vision of the American Dream—being served lobster poolside by a beautiful, uniformed maid and counting stacks of cash. After the “Ballin” dream as a rapper didn’t work out, we find Cliff today as a down-to-earth and middle class father of six, who has taken to heart traditional values of family and education.





Mijanou: Another of Greenfield’s earliest subjects, Mijanou was popular as an 18-year-old Beverly Hills High School senior, winning the class’s “Best Physique” award. Now 42 and bringing up a daughter of her own, she recalls the damaging legacy of being shaped by the “male gaze,” which won her acceptance as an immigrant who was less well off than her peers.

Paris: In 1993 Greenfield’s lens captured Paris, the 16-year-old son of REO Speedwagon guitarist Kevin Cronin, as he partied out of control in a world where parents were largely absent. After years of struggling with drug addiction, Paris finally got sober at age 29. We see him here coming to terms with his own feelings of abandonment and inadequacy and his determination to be a loving father to his baby daughter.

Limo Bob: The self-proclaimed “Limo King,” Bob owns a fleet of limousines which includes the longest limousine in the world with a swimming pool and a helicopter landing pad. The Chicago native proudly shows off his trademark 33 pounds of gold and diamond jewelry .

Tiffany: Tiffany left her home in Kansas as a single mother to seek fame and fortune in Las Vegas. Now a leading VIP hostess, arranging high-end entertainment and attractive escorts she calls Arm Charms for celebrity clients, her son has to reckon with his mom’s choices which affect his own. She admits there are downsides to success in Vegas nightlife, saying, “You sell your soul to the devil.”

Suzanne: Suzanne was a 37-year-old hedge-fund executive when Greenfield photographed her for a story on women who spent large sums on personal maintenance. Suzanne spends her 30’s focused on making money and building her successful career. She postpones childbearing and at age 40, Greenfield follows her struggle to conceive a child, as she goes through 25 IVF cycles and eventually hires a surrogate to bear her baby.

 

 
Date for DVD release subject to change.