Interview: Documentary Filmmaker Lauren Greenfield Shares The Story Behind ‘Generation Wealth’

You may remember the name Lauren Greenfield from her amazingly successful #LikeAGirl ad campaign for the brand Always that made its’ debut during the Super Bowl, or perhaps you have seen some of her amazing photography and documentary work captured in “Thin”, wherever you know her from, Greenfield is once again paving the way for women and other diverse voices with the launch of her new production company Girl Culture Films.

The idea behind Girl Culture Films is to showcase the lack of diversity and women behind the camera in all areas of film and television, especially throughout the advertising industry. Women make up the largest market of consumers worldwide, however, the advertising world is made up of roughly 80% men, so essentially it is men telling the women of the world what we should buy! Kind of silly if you really think about it!

Girl Culture’s roster features filmmakers across genres, such as Catherine Hardwicke (“Miss Bala”), Karyn Kusama (“Destroyer”), and Amy Berg (“West of Memphis”) to only name a few. We can’t wait to see in the future what this fabulous group of women will put together!

Greenfield has also just released her latest documentary film titled “Generation Wealth” which is currently streaming via Amazon Prime. The film is already generating a ton of buzz.

For the past 25 years, Greenfield has traveled 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 autobiographical and historical essay, the film bears witness to the global boom-bust economy, the corrupted American Dream, and the personal costs of late-stage capitalism, narcissism, and greed.

We had a chance to catch up with Lauren Greenfield to discuss the launch of Girl Culture Films, “Generation Wealth”, the documentary film process and more! Greenfield tells us that Girl Culture Films is something that has “been germinating for quite a while” and she is “incredibly excited that we are finally doing it!”

Greenfield goes on to say that the project is really focused on “commercials and brand content in terms of all the directors” and it came out of her experience with the #LikeAGirl campaign. She says they are excited to try out “new content with different voices”.

When speaking about the transition of moving from a background in photography over to advertising and film, Greenfield says, “It’s always been exciting for me to find a way to push my boundaries into another medium.” She reveals that it’s “an extension of the story-telling and the relationship with the subjects just sort of transferred over.”

Talking about “Generation Wealth” Greenfield says, “It was a really unusual project that came out of twenty-five years of work in my photography where I was putting together this book that showcased all of my work since the early nineties … when I looked back at the pictures I could see a kind of evidence of this fundamental shift in our culture. The picture of the American Dream had radically changed in the last twenty-five years. It changed from being about hard work and making sure your children are provided for, including education and stability and making some kind of contribution to the community or society. Now it has kind of morphed into this American Dream on steroids where it was all about bling and celebrity and narcissism.”

She says that “I began to track back and put everything together like a puzzle” and that was the birth of “Generation Wealth.

Check out our full interview below:

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