In 2013, Olivia Cucinotta ’18 was approached to be in a film. She wasn’t acting or reading from a script, but instead, she was asked to be herself–the most terrifying task of all. The project was All This Panic, and back then no one knew what it was. Just a project started by Brooklyn-based photographer Jenny Gage and cinematographer Tom Betterton.
The film follows the lives of seven girls from New York City as they navigate three very confusing years. Gage and Betterton capture them as “they navigate the ephemeral and fleeting transition between child and adult.” The project was set to give voice to young women and tell their true stories. Lucky for us, Kenyon’s very own is one of those seven girls.
Olivia Cucinotta ’18 admits she was mainly flattered by the whole experience. She notes “It’s very flattering to have people whose work you admire take an interest in you. Also it pissed off my parents (especially my dad. He still hates it. But he supports me. He’s a nice guy).”
She does admit that the whole experience got “super weird” at times. “Around age 17 I sort of freaked out and dropped out of the movie for about a year. It was becoming a very real thing instead of something funny. I was very afraid to be on film, I felt very exposed. The director was always amazing patient with me and talked me through all the things I was scared of. Eventually I timidly reentered this movie. It must have been incredibly stressful for the director (Sorry, Jenny), but I’m really glad to have stuck with it.”
While the premise and production of the film sound intriguing, the most exciting aspect is that All This Panic will be premiering in at Tribeca Film Festival. What once began as a small project that involved wrangling and accurately portraying seven teen girls is now set to bewitch and charm viewers in less than one week. Tickets for all four showings next weekend sold out within one minute. Besides the showings, the seven girls will be participating in panels and Q&A’s all weekend.
Olivia seems generally at peace with the new found quasi-stardom. She notes “honestly telling strangers about my life will be fine. They’re strangers, they don’t care. I’m mostly nervous for when my grandma sees it. Or when my friends turn it into gifs they’ll use to haunt me into my old age.”
“Being involved in this movie has been lots of twists and turns, but the other girls in the film and the director have really been the best people to be confused about it all alongside me. Who knows where it will go from here.”