Truth is often stranger than fiction, but these days it’s harder than ever to separate the two. Such is the case with The Upper Footage, a found-footage film about the supposed real-life cover up of a young girl’s overdose in an affluent NYC socialite’s apartment. The movie is now available online (read our review), but the one thing people are likely to walk away with – whether they see the film or not – are questions about its level of authenticity (or lack thereof).
We’ve done the necessary digging to settle the issue of the Upper Footage, once and for all. And while the answers may be just what you expected, there is nonetheless a lot of intrigue surrounding this film and its long road to the screen.
The Story We’ve Been Told
Here’s a quick rundown of the “official” story surrounding the film:
The film recounts a night in 2009, in which “affluent New Yorkers” Blake Pennington, Will Erixon, Taylor Green and Devon Petrovsky left a nightclub bar with a young woman who was never seen alive again. In 2010, a video called “Socialite Overdose” hit YouTube, depicting four young men with pixilated faces standing over a pixel-faced girl who was overdosing in the bathroom of a what is asserted to be Pennington’s NYC apartment. The video was blackmail, part of a 393-minute reel that Pennington had allegedly shot on the night of the woman’s disappearance.
In 2011 more clips from the video surfaced (and were quickly pulled), this time said to feature some popular young celebrities partying with Pennington and co. over a mountain of cocaine. At that point the story hit the media radar – despite the thick fog of uncertainty surrounding the story.
The story and celebrity connections were soon dropped by the media – until filmmaker Quentin Tarantino allegedly purchased the rights to the entire tape that same year (2011), and began production on a documentary and featurette called Upper, said to be a scathing inditement of the upper class’s ability to circumvent justice.
Tarantino supposedly released a trailer in September 2011; however, shady behind-the-scenes backlash had him suddenly pulling the trailer from the Web and killing the film. In October 2011, a cryptic message appeared on the Upper movie site proclaiming that “we” were now in possession of the footage – with no explanation of who “we” is. The Upper Footage is presumably an edited-down version of the night in question - this time without the censored details.
So what’s the REAL story? Well, as I said “truth is often stranger than fiction…”