The Illusionists

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Elena Rossini is a film director/cinematographer/editor of Italian origins. She has recently launched the fundraising campaign for her project “The Illusionists” – a feature-length documentary about the commodification of the body and the marketing of unattainable beauty around the world. Please watch the presentation in the video above or read more about it on Kickstarter.com. The goal is to raise 33,000 dollars in the next few weeks; if the campaign is successful, Elena will start filming interviews in the United States in September, continuing then in Europe and finishing roughly 2/3 of all the interviews needed for the film by the end of this year. She is currently filming. There are amazing experts already lined up for the interviews, including author & filmmaker Jean Kilbourne (best known for her iconic film series “Killing Us Softly“), psychotherapist Susie Orbach (best known for her book “Fat is a Feminist Issue”), and Jenn Pozner (author of “Reality Bites Back“; she was recently featured in the New Yorker and on NPR). Elena is also hoping to interview Umberto Eco and photographer Oliviero Toscani, amongst others. Your help is crucial. Elena decided to run a fundraising campaign on Kickstarter.com because there is a lot of censorship surrounding these issues. Funding the film independently, through people’s donations, is the only way the filmmaker can be completely candid about these topics, without interference from media companies. We hope you will help by donating (there are rewards for all budgets) and by spreading the word about this campaign. Visit “The Illusionists” website! ABOUT THE FILMMAKER Elena Rossini the illusionistsBorn and raised in a small town near Lake Como, Elena Rossini left Italy at the age of 18 and since then she has lived and worked in the United States, England, and France. Dove Sei Tu is her first feature-length film, a 90-minute drama set in between Milan, Lake Como, and Rome, Italy. Besides The Illusionists, recent projects include the experimental documentary Direction, shot in Tokyo and Paris, and Ideal Women, a short documentary juxtaposing beauty ideals in the art world vs. mass media. Elena is also the creator of No Country for Young Women, an ongoing multimedia project striving to connect women across generations & nationalities on the topic of their careers. Elena currently divides her time in between Paris and Milan. SYNOPSIS IllusionistsThe Illusionists is a documentary about the body as the “finest consumer object,” focusing on how mass media, advertising, and several industries manipulate and exploit people’s insecurities about their bodies for profit. The preoccupation over physical beauty is as old as time; what is different today is the central role that the pursuit of the perfect body has taken: it has become our new religion. A beautiful body is seen today as key for personal and also, more importantly, economic success for both women and men. The fast-paced culture brought on by globalization and the new economy has created a new paradigm of self-making: individuals are increasingly pushed to re-invent themselves. The key anxiety of the 21st century is the fear of disposability. From Los Angeles to Tokyo, relentless propaganda reminds us that we have only one body – and that we have to enhance it. Through advertising and mass media, multibillion-dollar industries (most notably cosmetics, fashion, dieting, and cosmetic surgery) saturate our lives with images of idealized, unattainable beauty, of an “Official Body” that does not really exist in nature and that can be obtained only through cosmetic surgery… or digital retouching. The very quantity of these images makes it impossible for people not to be affected by them. The ultimate goal is to exacerbate people’s insecurities, and to then profit from them, through the sale of a plethora of products and treatments. The beauty industry is constantly expanding and has now found two new targets: little girls and men. A revolution is under way in the perception that these two groups have of themselves. The Illusionists will explore these themes through the testimonies of sociologists, historians, advertising executives, magazine editors, scientists, and authors in North America, Europe, and Asia.