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The staff of The Salt Lake Tribune covers the Sundance Film Festival, on the streets of Utah and beyond.

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YouTube Star Attends Sundance Screening

If you read my review of the Sundance documentary "Me @ the Zoo," you know that I thought the documentary about YouTube's first video star failed at explaining who the real Chris Crocker was or what his YouTube video blogging meant to him. Crocker is best known for his infamous video rant, "Leave Britney Alone!," in support of pop singer Britney Spears.

After Wednesday afternoon's screening of the movie, the young gay Tennessee man (pictured above, far left, with the filmmakers and editor) - who now seems much wiser and more mature than when he made his Internet videos - approached the stage for a Q&A. It turned out he was more poignant and sincere in describing his life than the movie was.

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"I really love that this film shows a teenager in the Deep South trying really hard to find [himself] with no community - I had no friends, that is not an exaggeration there - and it was like my camera was my best friend and my only outlet to turn to," he said. "This really shows there's so many teen-agers now on the Internet and that's the only place they can find community and outreach to others, like LGBT youth.

"They need to find an outlet - like maybe not do what I did and put your whole life out there because its not the safest way," he added. "But they need to find an outlet, whether it's just writing in a journal or drawing or whatever makes them happy. They need to take that angst and put it into something, otherwise I wouldn't be standing here."

Well said. Now if only the movie was as insightful.

- Vince Horiuchi



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