Since I first saw CSA: The Confederate States of America in eighth grade, I have loved mockumenteries. In fact, the first film I ever ever made was a mockumentary. So, naturally, I was pretty excited when I found Erica Wexler is Online.
Documentary filmmaking is a rather challenging art. When done well, it can be amazingly enlightening and entertaining; however, actually doing it well is rather difficult. Now, transferring the documentary style into a fictional narrative takes a fairly good director. It’s pretty easy to just tell a story as if it was a documentary (e.g. The Office or Parks and Recreation), but actually giving the impression that you are watching a documentary and not a narrative set to look like a documentary, takes true talent. And luckily for us, director Doran Hagay has it.
Though Erica Wexler is Online was created in 201o, the idea is as fresh as ever. Following a college students death, her Facebook keeps posting. When I first started watching the film I actually thought that it was a real story. Until the Facebook comment exerts started, I wasn’t entirely sure it was fake. Hagay breaks up the interviews with Erica’s friends with old photos and the occasional Facebook conversation that complement the film really well.
Hagay does a terrific job of not only inviting us into the unseen character of Erica but also the psyche of those dealing with the aftermath of her death, which brings me to why this film is just so good. Hagay expertly tackle the mockumentary style at the same time as he uses it to show us a whole new side of death that we rarely see on screen.
If you liked Hagay’s work, make sure to share this film and check out his blog.