EXCLUSIVE: We are in an era when people are glued to their smartphones and for some, they’re hungry for digital validation of their self-worth. The SXSW documentary Social Animals follows Instagram stars and their hunger for social media fame…and the backlash that can happen.

Directed by Jonathan Ignatius Green, Social Animals focuses on a select group of Instagrammers: a daring bridge-climbing photographer, an aspiring swimsuit model, and a Midwestern girl next door. They’re looking for love, acceptance, and fame through their smartphones — and they have received it. They have exceeded 500,000 followers, know what makes the perfect Instagram shot, and know the rules of posting on Instagram (do NOT post two selfies in a row — that is sacrilege!). They, like many other avid Instagrammers, will do anything to enter the upper echelon of social media notoriety. The doc turns the selfie-cam on them and other young image-focused teenagers as they measure their self-worth through likes, followers, and comments. At the same time, it explores what happens when all of that goes south.

This marks the first feature documentary for content studio Conscious Minds, which produced the film under their new original content banner Subconscious Films. The film is produced by Blake Heal. Mark Lipson, Cameron DeArmond, Chase Jensen, and Amanda Jensen are executive producers.

Social Animals makes its world premiere at 9 PM on March 9 at the Alamo Ritz 1.

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