Director: Tom DiCillo
Screenwriters: Tom DiCillo

Institute History


Toby, a desperate, but affable, homeless kid insinuates himself into the life of Les, a hapless paparazzo, and offers to serve as his unpaid assistant. Always game for a deal, Les adopts Toby and shows him the sleazy ropes of party crashing, scoring goody bags, and chasing hot tips. As Les and his cameraman cronies clamor for photo opps, handsome Toby locks eyes with K'harma, the sexy reigning pop princess, and is suddenly swept into a glittery fairy tale like a boy-toy Cinderella. Of course Les views Toby's entrée into K'harma's heretofore-untouchable realm as a chance to snap a shot and make a buck. But Toby is genuinely smitten, and when Les is unable to control his impulses, both men must grapple with the meaning of friendship and the price of betrayal.

It's hard not to see our own voyeuristic anxieties play out in Steve Buscemi's brilliantly conceived Les, a loveable buffoon and tragic figure, while Michael Pitt's well-adjusted Toby reflects our best aspirations for authenticity and truth telling in a world obsessed with packaging the image. At a time when celebrity mania is at its zenith, Tom DiCillo delivers a high-energy, sharp-witted satire that pokes ironic fun at the absurd machine—paparazzi, publicists, and stars—that manufactures fame, while also addressing the toll it takes on those caught in its cogs.

— Caroline Libresco

Screening Details


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