New Yorkers from different walks of life describe the myriad complications of finding meaningful connection online in this perceptive, charming exploration of 21st-Century dating.
To create SEARCHERS, director Pacho Velez conducted interviews with a diverse bunch of New Yorkers of varied ages, ethnicities, genders, and sexual preferences about their experiences with online dating and their criteria for a romantic partner, often observing them in real time as they swipe through dating profiles or chat with potential matches. By opening up about what they’re searching for, the film’s subjects usually reveal quite a bit about themselves, making for an intimate, poignant, and often quite funny group portrait. Velez adds to this intimacy by casting himself as a subject of the film, reflecting on his own search for love online and scrolling through dating app profiles on-camera (sometimes with his mom in tow to offer guidance). Tracking a process that can frequently feel mildly dystopian, Velez employs a light and often humorous touch to remind the viewer of the very real people behind the stream of swipe-able profiles. Made largely during the pandemic, SEARCHERS casts a bemused, empathetic eye on the timely yet completely universal desire for love and connection.
In Competition: Documentary Feature
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