14 Pews presents Jawline
In rural Tennessee, Austyn Tester, a 16-year-old newcomer to the live-broadcast ecosystem, attempts to ride a wave of optimism to become the next big internet crush. Teen girls all over the world tune into online “boy broadcasts” like Tester’s, in a 21st-century version of Tiger Beat, where all your fave heartthrobs might actually interact with you online for a minute or two — or more for the right price.
But Tester’s earnestness sets him apart, peering wide-eyed into his laptop camera and professing unconditional love and support to his female fans for hours on end. What’s he selling? Male validation. In return, he asks for fame and a better life for his family. Will Tester’s open heart give him celebrity status and a chance to escape from his dead-end town, or is this new ecosystem built for failure?
Liza Mandelup’s feature debut, Jawline, distills the most complex concepts about modern-day childhood and a gold-rush teen economy into one fascinating and surprisingly moving human portrait that questions what values we’ve passed onto our youths, and discovers a new and fleeting American dream.