Finding love has never been easy. But it’s also never been easier. Online dating sites thrive on the promise that dates and mates are just a “click” away. But are they?
WHEN STRANGERS CLICK: FIVE STORIES FROM THE INTERNET, from Robert Kenner (the Oscar®-nominated “Food, Inc.”), tells the revealing stories of people whose lives were transformed in unexpected ways by online encounters.
From a woman turning 30 who’s starting to fear she’ll never get married, to a failed Swedish businessman who finds love and fame in the 3D virtual world Second Life, to a young gay man for whom the Internet becomes a lifeline, the stories in WHEN STRANGERS CLICK span the range of human emotions, from loneliness to elation, from confusion to fulfillment, from humiliation to hope.
The acceptance of the Internet as a way to meet, develop and maintain relationships has mushroomed, with an estimated one in five heterosexual couples in the U.S. having met online. This video Valentine’s Day card demonstrates how profoundly the search for intimacy has changed in today’s Internet-centric world, challenging the assumption that finding a partner online is shallower than in-the-flesh courting.
WHEN STRANGERS CLICK profiles five people in search of love:
Kim, who packed a wedding gown and flew to Prague to marry a man she had never spoken to.
Dave, who met scores of women before having to reveal a physical shortcoming.
Beth, who nearly gave up on love before going online at age 30.
Ryan, who Googled “gay” and received a big surprise.
Jonas, whose real life was changed forever when he entered the world of Second Life.
The documentary also incorporates footage shot by two of the protagonists. One segment chronicles the moment Kim meets her boyfriend in person for the first time; in another, Beth tries to come to terms with the possibility she may never get married. In addition, the film captures the stunning beauty and bizarre leaps of imagination of the entirely human-constructed world of Second Life through the video technique machinima.
The stories in WHEN STRANGERS CLICK were selected from hundreds submitted via the Web, including Twitter, Facebook and Second Life. Starting in mid-January, people can submit their own online love stories. Visit hbo.com for details.
Director and producer Robert Kenner wrote, directed and produced the feature documentary “Food Inc.,” which was nominated for an Oscar®, as well as Independent Spirit and DGA Awards, and won the 2009 Gotham Award for Best Documentary. Producer Marc N. Weiss founded the PBS documentary series “P.O.V.” and Web Lab, a nonprofit think tank dedicated to using the web as a transformative force in people’s lives.
WHEN STRANGERS CLICK: FIVE STORIES FROM THE INTERNET was directed and produced by Robert Kenner; produced by Marc N. Weiss and Melissa Robledo; cinematographers, Don Lenzer, Jay Redmond, and Chris Baron; editor, Leonard Feinstein. For HBO: supervising producer, Lisa Heller; executive producer, Sheila Nevins.