At this year’s Sundance Film Festival, there were two documentaries about paparazzi. The first was Teenage Paparazzo by director Adrian Grenier (Vince on Entourage), and the other was by director Leon Gast (When We Were Kings) and its focus was on self proclaimed paparazzo superstar Ron Galella (pictured wearing the helmet above).
Why two films about paparazzi made Sundance this year isn’t clear, but with the abundance of magazines and websites covering what even minor celebrities are eating for lunch, it’s not really a surprise that we’d eventually start to look at the people that make a living chasing down actors and famous people with their cameras.
For more on Smash His Camera – including six clips from the documentary – hit the jump:
As Sundance wrote on their website:
Paparazzi might be the norm in our celebrity-infested times, haphazardly snapping every movement of the rich and famous. Ron Galella, though, is the original paparazzo. He elevated the celebrity snapshot into art and, at 78, remains a stalwart in the business. Dogged in his quest to photograph celebrities in unguarded moments, he defines his passion for his work by the ups and downs of his career-documenting the parade of stars at a thriving Studio 54 and having the dubious honor of being sued by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (his favorite subject) and having his jaw broken by Marlon Brando.
Leon Gast (When We Were Kings) masterfully profiles Galella and places him at the center of the debate about the First Amendment right to privacy. Galella’s work and tactics have their critics, but his influence is undeniable. In a career defined by perseverance, he has created some of the most lasting, iconic photographs of our times.
What’s great about Smash His Camera is the way Galella recounts his life through the lens and his long history with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Also, while he may be almost eighty, director Leon Gast shows him trying to hand Robert Redford a book as he crashes a party he wasn’t invited to. Galella goes on to explain all the rules he follows to get the shot, and some of them stretch the boundaries of what’s legal.
If you’re the type that reads the celebrity magazines and knows who is dating who in Hollywood, both films would interest you. Here’s six clips from Smash His Camera, which I’m sure will get some sort of release in the future.