Directed by two-time Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple, This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous (2017) chronicles YouTube personality’s transition from Gregory Lazzarato to Gigi Gorgeous.

ScreenPrism spoke to the documentary’s executive producers Adam Wescott and Scott Fisher at Sundance Film Festival 2017, where the film premiered before its launch on February 8. We touched on the film’s underlying message and themes, Gigi Gorgeous’ onscreen transformation, the evolution of YouTube, and more. 

On meeting Gigi Gorgeous:

I was producing a one-off parody video on YouTube, and I wanted to hire a YouTuber to star in it to gain traction. [That’s when] I came across Gigi. Her being her, she decided she wanted it to become this full-fledged web series. I was still in college at the time – this was about seven years ago – and ended up producing the web series which was optioned for television. In the meantime, I started managing her. I saw what she was doing and that she had great talent.

- Scott Fisher

On being drawn into Gigi Gorgeous’ personality:

Gigi was unapologetically herself. Whether it was doing a deal with her or seeing her interact with her friends and family, she was sure on everything she always wanted to do. You could help support her to get her somewhere she wanted to do, but if she didn’t want to go there, it wasn’t happening. She was very dead-set on everything she wanted to accomplish in life. As a manager, you need clients [like that] who are laser-focused.

- Scott Fisher

On Gigi’s YouTube transformation:

So when she started on YouTube, she was Gregory Gorgeous. People have watched her transition over the last 6+ years, and that hasn’t been done before…I think the fact that she’s the first transgender female to ever share her journey entirely in media [drew people into her story]. Now more than ever…this documentary and Gigi’s personal story really have a place in the [LGBTQ community] conversation.

- Adam Wescott

On Gigi’s experimentation with storytelling formats:

On her YouTube channel, [Gigi] has the luxury of trying different formats, different types of content, and different lengths. What we’re seeing now is all about audience engagement. Rather than traditional one-way viewing in television or film, there are comments, likes – real-time responses and actions – and you can iterate based on that conversation with your audience.

Gigi does videos called "Story Time!" [among others], giving viewers a deeper dive into her life. So she’ll do more of that when she sees that the response is positive…With the documentary, it’s 91 minutes and it’s a different format for her, but I’m very confident that the audience will come along for the ride and watch it both in theaters [and on YouTube Red].

- Adam Wescott

Gigi Lazzarato (AKA Gigi Gorgeous)

On sorting through footage for the documentary:

There were 15 hours of footage from Gigi’s childhood and self-shot GoPro video of her transition that has never aired on her YouTube channel. So it was a matter of taking existing footage, properly cataloguing it, and then putting in the hands of our amazing director Barbara Kopple. [Barbara] went through and found the story within the existing footage and combined it with current day [material]. So last year we shot in Los Angeles, Toronto, and then in New York for New York Fashion Week…and that footage combined came out to the movie we’re premiering here.

- Adam Wescott

On producing YouTube’s first feature film project:

This is a feature-length documentary [which will be released in select theaters and on] YouTube Red, a platform for premium content with a subscription model. I think [YouTube] saw the potential from the get-go, and it was a no-brainer for us because YouTube is our partner across the board. So they came on to finance it and distribute it worldwide on the YouTube Red platform.

- Adam Wescott

On the evolution of YouTube:

It’s been 10 years since a lot of people started making careers on YouTube. It started as people uploading videos from their parents’ basements, viral cat videos – whatever it was – and they were sustaining themselves. But I think now, people are really looking at themselves as media brands, just like any celebrity or media property would. Everyone is taking it seriously and now obviously YouTube Red is financing their own original programming. [YouTube] has matured.

- Scott Fisher

Gigi Gorgeous

On working with Academy Award-winning filmmaker Barbara Kopple:

[This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous] is a personal story, but it’s also about a very relevant social issue. Barbara Kopple is known for creating documentaries about social issues. [She has explored] everything from mining workers and food workers to the Dixie Chicks. [This issue is taken on] through the eyes of Gigi Gorgeous. It’s her personal story as a transgender female in 2017.

- Adam Wescott

On the underlying message of This is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous:

I would say that the deepest message of the film is acceptance and being yourself without any reservations. Gigi was always herself. She didn’t compromise on anything. It kind of led to her being accepted by everybody because they had no other choice. Take it or leave it, I’m Gigi, like it or not. Everyone always loves her after spending five or ten minutes with her. I would say that [the messages of the film are] acceptance and love of the family: everyone coming together and supporting someone that believes in herself.

- Scott Fisher