All This Panic follows seven teenage girls in Brooklyn facing a series of momentous firsts including, but not limited to partying, drinking, hooking up, falling in love, and contemplating life beyond their childhood homes. Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton award every teenager featured in the film an unmatched degree of seriousness in such a way that their complaints about doing chores and grievances about the cost of college resonate with the same weight. This attentive quality, combined with the filmmakers’ supreme access to intimate moments in these girls’ lives, creates an insightful and enlivening portrait of the modern-day teenage girl whose character escapes any broad definition and constantly re-articulates itself through the cast’s cumulative addresses to the camera.
Filmed over three years and assembled from about 140 hours of footage, All This Panic presents an epic survey of its characters’ teenage years despite its brief 79-minute runtime. According to Gage, the girls “unanimously loved the film” despite being surprised that many of the moments they thought would be in the film — “the first time they got drunk or whatever” — were sidelined in favor of smaller moments that revealed how their understanding of the world was changing as time passed by.
“We were constantly amazed by the speed at which the events of their lives unfolded and at their resiliency and their optimism. Everything was happening so fast for them and we realized that they were deep in the once-in-a-lifetime exhilaration of adolescence. They were moving and developing so fast that self-reflection is nearly impossible. We wanted to give them a record of just how amazing they were in this brief but crucial window of time.” JENNY GAGE
All This Panic’s position in the realm of coming-of-age films is quite special as a foil to similar experiments probing the growing pains of American boys such as Boyhood and Stand By Me. Gage notes none of the girls wanted “boys to be in the film,” which resulted in a “film for them, by them.” As a diary of today’s teenage girls, the film provides an especially unique look at a disappointingly undisclosed perspective in American cinema that now appears to be enjoying its moment in the sun with films like The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Princess Cyd, and Lady Bird. But, where these films employ fiction to tremendous results, All This Panic is most striking because it represents the unembellished moments that inspire such storytelling.
Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton are a married filmmaking duo based in Los Angeles, CA. Their first documentary All This Panic earned them critical success and several award nominations in festivals across the globe. Aside from their documentary work, they have also collaborated on two features: After (2019) and Are We Lost (2022).
Text written by Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer.
- Credits for
- ALL THIS PANIC
- Dusty Rose Ryan, Delia Cunningham, Lena M., Ginger Leigh Ryan & Olivia Cucinotta
- Tom Betterton
- produced by
- Jenny Gage, Tom Betterton, Christie Collippoulos & Jennifer Ollman
- edited by
- Connor Kalista
- original score by
- Didier Leplae & Joe Wong