All this Panic is a new documentary which marks its importance through its intimate representation of the female youth culture. The film is directed by Jenny Gage and her husband, Tom Betterton, who was the director of photography, as they both followed a group of young girls in New York for three years.
The documentary captures the busy lives of seven teenage girls as they figure out how to find themselves whilst enduring the highs and lows of growing up in a major city. The idea stemmed from director Jenny Gage and her husband who got to know their two teenage neighbours, Ginger and Dusty, in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn. Over a period of three years they became acquainted with Ginger and Dusty’s group of friends, in which they decided to document their interesting lifestyle.
The decision to focus on all of the girls’ lives, both inside and out of their homes makes this documentary particularly captivating as we can see how the girls each evolve and stem into different paths over the course of the film. This highlights the impact of the transition between childhood and adulthood and how crucial it is in shaping an individual.
Each of the girls share different obstacles and worries that they must tackle in life; Lena is threatened by her deeply troubled family life. Ginger who gushes “I’m petrified of getting old,” confides in her fears, unsure of what she wants to pursue once school is over. Sage, an African-American scholarship student, who is proud of being outspoken on issues surrounding feminism, she states things such as “the teenage body is so sexualized,” and “people want to see you but they don’t what to hear what you want to say.” Olivia, an open-minded teenager begins to explore her sexual identity on camera explaining how she is afraid of sharing this news with people close to her. There is also Ginger’s confident sister Dusty and her best friend Delia. Finally, there’s Ivy, a street-wise girl who appears older than her age.
The subjects each girl covers don’t really relate to each other; thus, it is interesting how the mix of girls unite and share their fears and excitement with one another.
To present the inner workings of the girls’ personality, Gage used roving handheld camerawork, bright and high contrast lighting to show off the big-city’s colour, and a shallow depth of field to capture the romantic magnificence young girls see in this world. The intimacy the film captures of female youth leaves you feeling hopeful and comforted; a young girl watching it can easily relate to the girls on screen. The film will be released on the 14th of April so keep your eyes peeled… we know we’ll be!
Text: Sophia Georghiou
Images: tribecafilm, factory25