“There’s an energy – they’re still buzzing” – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News
A Reddit known as @JeffAmazon earned $8 million on $50,000 in GameStop stock in early 2021. He’s among the voices featured in the new MSNBC documentary “Diamond Hands: The Legend of Wall Street Bets” produced by Southern Oregon filmmaker Gary Kout.
“Diamond Hands: The Legend of Wall Street Bets” produced by Southern Oregon filmmaker Gary Kout explores the major hedge funds so safe that mall-based 90s retailer Game Stop was doomed that size of the bet against the company was 140 percent of the size of the company itself. Screenshot.
Southern Oregon filmmaker Gary Kout produced the MSNBC documentary “Diamond Hands: The Legend of Wall Street Bets” now airing on the Peacock TV platform.
Southern Oregon filmmaker Gary Kout’s new documentary ‘Diamond Hands’ explores when Wall Street and web culture collided and Reddit users got rich
The documentary from a local filmmaker shown at local and national film festivals – as well as on MSNBC – is now available for home streaming.
The 82-minute documentary delves into the GameStop stock shortage of early 2021, when hordes of individual investors taking inspiration from Reddit page r/WallStreetBets made themselves millionaires by buying shares of the retail chain video game companies at a time when most institutional investors were shorting the stock.
Ashland-based filmmaker Gary Kout, who produced “Diamond Hands: The Legend of Wall Street Bets,” describes the 82-minute documentary as “a comedy, but an absurd comedy.”
Some on the forum were online gamblers looking to use the Robinhood trading app to get rich. Others whom Kout described as “irreverent anarchists”. The film straddles the lines between drama and comedy, current affairs and history as it delves into the lives of inexperienced investors who have watched their savings invested in the same stock soar and crash.
Kout said he and directors Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper — friends and business partners of Kout since filming a Super Bowl commercial more than a decade ago — have been working to keep Reddit’s frenetic pace going in their presentation by following the share price with each vote. chronology.
They stuck to the visual themes of rising lines and rocket emojis.
“People could just feel the energy of the moment, even if they didn’t understand the mechanics of it,” Kout said.
Kout said his team deliberated how much people needed to be involved in the mechanics of complex financial instruments such as stock futures and short selling.
“At the end of the day, we didn’t want it to be an instructional film,” Kout said. “If we went too far, it would bog down academia.”
Kout said they were able to deepen their storytelling thanks to preparatory work from NBC News, which had been keeping tabs on WallStreetBets’ Reddit page when contacted by the news agency.
“They knew about our work and our previous documentaries, and asked if that was something we were aware of,” Kout said.
Kout has production credits for documentary films that include “Flint Town, a Netflix Original Documentary Series” and “Fire in Paradise, a Netflix Original Documentary Short,” the latter of which made the 2019 Oscars shortlist.
He described NBC News as “really next level” with “wonderful contributors” and “incredible input”. Netflix, on the other hand, was “more guarded”.
“This is a news organization that had wonderful resources that we certainly wouldn’t have had if we had done it independently,” Kout said.
He described making a documentary film on a subject still in development as a challenge because “you don’t have the full benefit of hindsight”.
Hitting while the iron was still hot, however, made it easier for the filmmakers to capture the still-fresh swings of emotion in everyone’s mind.
“There’s an energy – they’re still buzzing,” Kout said of his interviews with people, some who became millionaires and some who lost everything. “All those people were still buzzing.”
Some investors bought GameStop shares in late 2020 as they traded in the low single digits. It rose exponentially to a high of $483 per share on January 28. Phrases on Reddit such as “Diamond Hands” encouraged shareholders not to sell at any price.
The stock fell sharply soon after when retail investor trading apps such as Robinhood and E-Trade began banning users from buying the stock. Commission-free trading platforms cited liquidity issues as the reason for halting sales of the stock.
Politicians, federal regulators and Reddit users all cried foul at the time and in the months that followed, leading to hearings with federal regulators.
“We had to look at everything and figure out which parts were appropriate,” Kout said.
Filming began in May 2021 and continued through September. Production wrapped in January, and the film premiered in March at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas.
Kout said he knew coming into the project that it was “a bit of a race in our industry as well,” as HBO was in the middle of its own two-part documentary titled “Gaming Wall Street.”
The documentary screened three times in March at SXSW 2022 – one of the first US film festivals to reopen to in-person audiences since the COVID-19 pandemic began – but was also screened at the Ashland Independent Film Festival.
Kout is also credited as a consulting producer for the Ashland-shot short “You Go Girl,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
“It was a banner year for festivals,” Kout said.
Kout lived in New York and spent a decade and a half in Los Angeles before moving to Rogue Valley 19 years ago. He said he moved to southern Oregon “primarily looking for the quality of life.”
“As a home away from home, there is nothing better,” Kout said.
He was surprised to find an active film community in southern Oregon. To bolster that energy, Kout founded the nonprofit organization now known as Film Southern Oregon in 2008.
His film credits include “Calvin Marshall” (2009), “Rango” (2011), “Redwood Highway” (2013), “Black Road” (2016) and “Phoenix, Oregon” (2019).
His advertising production work has taken him around the world with clients such as Apple, Meta (formerly Facebook), Nike and Honda, but he also finds work here in Rogue Valley taking on clients such as Harry & David.
“There are few places as pleasant and as good for movies as in southern Oregon,” Kout said.
Kout is also an adviser to Southern Oregon University’s new “The Crew Experience” class and has collaborated for years with the university’s film school, which he says is “the most intense in the state.”
“We are punching above our weight,” Kout said.
Kout’s film “Diamond Hands: The Legend of Wall Street Bets” is available to stream for free on NBC’s Peacock streaming platform. Sign up at PeacockTV.com.
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