Starsuckers is the most controversial documentary of the year, and was released in British cinemas in November 2009 to critical acclaim. It’s a darkly humourous and shocking exposé of the celebrity obsessed media, that uncovers the real reasons behind our addiction to fame and blows the lid on the corporations and individuals who profit from it. Directed by Chris Atkins, BAFTA nominated for Taking Liberties, Starsuckers exploded into the news in October when it emerged that the team had been selling fake celebrity stories to all the British Tabloids. This became a news sensation in it’s own right, and was followed by the darker revelation that Atkins had secretly filmed four journalists for three Sunday tabloids trying to buy medical records. The filmmakers also stung Max Clifford, who the film shows boasting about his clients on undercover camera. When Clifford found out, he hired the infamous law firm Carter Ruck and threatened to injunct the film which would have prevented it’s release. The film ends with a damning critique of Bob Geldof’s Live Aid and the star-studded Live 8 concerts in 2005.
Starsuckers is a feature documentary about the celebrity obsessed media, that uncovers the real reasons behind our addiction to fame and blows the lid on the corporations and individuals who profit from it.
Made completely independently over 2 years in secret, the film journeys through the dark underbelly of the modern media. Using a combination of never before seen footage, undercover reporting, stunts and animation, the film reveals the toxic effect the media is having on us all and especially our children.
Chris Atkins presents Starsuckers as a series of five lessons on fame in the modern world: how children are persuaded that fame is something they want, how television and the media reinforces the importance of celebrity and the efforts to attain it, how the mind and body reinforces our need to follow the activities of well-known people and strive to join their number, how the press became addicted to celebrity coverage, and how the art of promoting fame has led to celebrities and their handlers controlling the press instead of the press having say.
Along the way, Atkins demonstrates how celebrity news with no basis in fact gets into print, why newspapers will run press releases almost verbatim, how parents will eagerly sign away the image rights to their kids, how certain mass scale charity events end up helping the performers far more than the causes they designed to support, and how publicists keep accurate but unflattering stories out of the news.
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