Sex & the U.S.A.
From director Jan Wellman comes this genre-defying examination of abstinence-only education and it's effects on the teens of a conservative California suburb. Narrating the film is Audrey, a thoughtful 14 year old who decides to make an amateur documentary about her school-sponsored vow of chastity. Unlike the characters in earlier coming of age films like Kids and Thirteen, the high school students in Sex and the USA must navigate popular media channels that blur the line between reality and fiction. Audrey's home video recordings are laced with webcam footage, YouTube videos, and social media pages, creating an aesthetic that's as hyperkinetic as today's media landscape. The viewer is left just as disoriented as the film's protagonists, whose literal interpretation of chastity leaves room for many other forms of reckless behavior. In the end, Audrey and her peers are forced to question whether an education rooted in religious ideology can truly help connect the dots between their conservative values and their modern, connected lifestyles.