Ned Botwood - 12th July 2019

Lili_dreams only has 17K followers. It’s high time she fixed that. Sophia Ray directs this sumptuously photographed story about a wannabe influencer for Ritual.

Real life influencer Cailin Russo gives a heartfelt performance as Lili, a young woman on a mission for online validation. She experiments with different smiles, products and filters, and initially she finds success. But ultimately, there seems to be nothing she can do to stay relevant and raise her profile. As she loses followers and friends alike, her online world becomes impossible to differentiate from reality.

You’ve seen this story before, but rarely with this much flair. The video has a close relative in Nosedive, the episode of Black Mirror in which Bryce Dallas Howard pays the price for her obsession with social media and interaction-based credit. But where Nosedive was all pastels and nihilism, Ray’s video is a more sympathetic portrayal.

Alexandre Jamin’s photography is a delight, rendered in all the jewel tones and honeyed glow of an Instagram fantasy. And VFX artist Leanne Pletersky has done great work with frame-jumping texts and 3D graphics that look both realistic and absolutely part of the world they’re helping to depict. Ultimately the biggest credit goes to Sophia Ray, who achieves a great balance between her characteristic visual polish and narrative drive. She really shows what she can do.

PRO Credits


DirectorSophia Ray
ProducerMayling Wong
Production CompanyPartizan Darkroom
Executive ProducerMayling Wong
Production ManagerJack Bristow
1st ADGeorge Nelson
Director of PhotographyAlexandre Jamin
Focus PullerMax Beauquesne
2nd ACLeon Frind
GafferSalvador Gomez-Lopez
Art DirectorBenny Casey 
WardrobeLuci Ellis
HairCoco Hirani
Make-upJess Clarke
EditorJames Demetriou
ColouristJonny Thorpe
Grading companyGlasssworks
Post production companyGlassworks London
Post ProducerChloe Ensor
VFXLeanne Pletersky
Lead actorCailin Russo
Director's RepresentationClaire Stubbs @ Mouthpiece
Lead actorFelix Spooner
CommissionerLaura Clayton
LabelIsland Records

Ned Botwood - 12th July 2019

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