Video

Share – An Instagram star at a crossroads

Tim is an 18-year-old Asian-American with more than 4m followers on Instagram. He lives online, grabbing his phone first thing in the morning and even taking baths with it sometimes. Although Tim usually shares funny memes, he occasionally posts about mental health. In exploring his reasons for these posts, we discover he has created a different persona online than in real life.

Will he be able to reconcile the two? Tackling issues of identity, family and communication, the film is a heartbreaking yet ultimately uplifting story about a Generation Z teenager at an important crossroads in his life
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[Phone alarm] [Tim laughing] [Tim laughing] So how did this all begin?
So I started Instagram five years ago,
when I was in the 8th grade,
because I had no friends,
and I wanted to do something on Instagram.
And because of my page, I’ve been
contacted by some companies to do marketing,
and now I work at a
startup where I help manage
their Instagram pages and
I do some creative work.
Yeah, four’s fine.
So, do we want to convince
them that memes are good?
I’m trying to explain to
them like, hey we can make,
you know, these milk memes that will
get people excited about milk.
They want to be like classy memes, like, classy content.
It got 800 likes in 30
minutes, that’s pretty bad.
That’s pretty OK.
Mmm … the other one did.
Yeah, it’s not that good.
And we noticed
you have a pinned post
that’s really different from
the rest of your meme posts.
So basically, like,
I really care about like
social justice, and like mental
health, because I went through,
like, a similar
depression situation, because,
I’m gay.
And my family is just not
really, like, happy about it at all.
I mean, they don’t know,
but, like, from gathering information
and their comments,
like, you know you can just tell
when your family doesn’t like something
and they really don’t
like gay people at all.
And like, my dad was
like, one day in the car,
he was like ‘I’m gonna jump
off the Golden Gate Bridge
if one of you is gay’ or like,
if you’re gay, and I’m like …
And he wasn’t …
he was saying it like as a joke,
you know, like …
Like when you know that your …
You know even as a joke,
you know, it hurts a lot
that your dad would say
something like that.
[YouTube Clip] Why is he doing this to me?
[YouTube Clip] Why did he do this?
[YouTube Clip] Well, God can do anything, why doesn’t he heal me?
How did you get through
this difficult time period?
Well, I met my best friend now,
online, and she owns another meme page.
And we became friends, and
we became better and better friends …
I wanted to
tell her that I was gay and …
I told her, and then she
helped me get through a lot.
It’s just easier to talk to people online.
That’s why I really care about
helping others’ mental health.
You know, if I can just
save like one life,
or if I can make someone’s day better
like that’s so important.
But, I haven’t come out to my family yet.
Some people are going to
have a problem with this.
I know that, this could kind
of change everything for me,
but it shouldn’t have to,
and that’s why I’m making this video
and that’s why I think it’s important
that people make these …
[YouTube clip] OK, so go ahead.
[YouTube clip] It’s not easy to say.
[YouTube clip] OK.
[YouTube clip] And you’re going to be very shocked.
[YouTube clip] Uh oh. You got us worried.
[YouTube clip] Don’t get worried.
Hello?
[Michelle] Do you see me?
[Michelle] I just realised I’m so dumb, look.
[Michelle] I’m so stupid
– You’re so stupid.
Are you alone in your room?
– [Michelle] Yeah, oh my God.
OK, so I’m calling you because,
a big part of this documentary is about
my personal life, and I’m pretty sure
you suspected this before, you know,
that I’m gay, right?
I mean, it’s pretty obvious because
we’re like pretty close, right?
– [Michelle] Oh my gosh,
I’m going to kill you!
You just told me!
Right? And it’s like really hard for me,
because you know, my family like …
I’m going to cry but …
[Michelle] Awww, Timmy.
I really thought you would never tell me.
Because, you know, it’s like …
Everyone is always like …
You can’t be like this,
right? Like, in our family.
Fucking immigrants and shit.
Just kidding but, you know.
[Michelle] Aww it’s OK.
Wait did you tell them?
No, because my dad, you know,
he’s … really doesn’t like that stuff.
[Michelle] Yeah.
And yeah, I just wanted to tell you
because you’re my favourite cousin,
besides Sean, Sean’s my favourite.
But yeah.
[Michelle] Are you OK?
Yes, because I know you
wouldn’t hate me for it!
You know, like most …
[Michelle] No!
I would never, dude!
Of course I’d never.
[Michelle] I’m so happy for you,
like, I just wanted you to tell me.
I know.
[Michelle] Aww, wait
so your dad doesn’t know?
I think I’m going to tell them next week.
[Michelle] Did you tell Tommy and Steph?
No, because Tommy’s
always like, you know,
like, ‘that’s so gay’ and ‘stop
being so gay’ and stuff.
[Michelle] Yeah.
It’s OK.
Yeah, it’s OK.
[Michelle] They’ll understand.
No, I don’t think my dad will,
I don’t know what will happen.
[Michelle] But my mom
told me that your dad said it was OK,
like, he was fine with it.
What? Are you kidding me?
[Michelle] They talked
about it, like, a while ago.
Nobody told me this.
[Michelle] He said
that he was fine with it.
Are you sure?
[Michelle] I know, I’m sure,
he did say that, dude, he loves you.
Because I was just, you
know, so scared that,
you know, he wouldn’t love me anymore.
[Michelle] No, that’s not at all, dude.
It’s OK.
They’re always going, like,
love you, no matter what.

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