Alumnus produces hookup documentary

A USC alumnus has released a film that highlights the trends and problems surrounding hookup culture on college campuses.

Christopher Lakkees, who has an MBA from USC, was one of the producers of Liberated: Hookup Culture and the New Sexual Revolution. Lakkees said the film sought to highlight the trends that have led to a culture of sexual exploitation.

“Our film explores the cultural forces that are fueling the demand for prurient sex,” Lakkees said. “In Liberated: Hookup Culture and the New Sexual Revolution, we focus on Western culture. We examine a society where sex sells, where women are expected to conform to an idealized sexual image and where men are socialized to consume women for sex.”

The film explores the behavior of college students and their conformity to a hypersexualized culture. The filmmakers interviewed professionals and experts while following groups of college students on spring break and analyzing their behavior.

“We set out to create a film around interviewing college students on spring break asking what they felt their roles engendered in today’s society, including sexually,” Lakkees said. “During filming, we were quickly made aware of the fast transactional attitude around intimacy that was taking place termed hookup culture. We pivoted our focus from there, and followed the line to see where our discovery would lead. We then encountered what sociologists believe is behavior never caught on film before.”

The film was directed by Benjamin Nolot, the president and founder of Exodus Cry, a Missouri-based organization that opposes human trafficking by raising awareness and reintegrating victims back into society. Nolot said he feels that the film is about telling an important story and disrupting the toxic misconduct on college campuses.

“It highlights some of the more concerning trends in terms of the sexual landscape of young adults on college campuses today,” Nolot said. “Through this film, we have the opportunity to draw attention to these concerns and start to see the culture change on college campuses.”

Nolot said that the sources interviewed for the film include sociologists and one social worker, who helped provide perspective on the trends that are happening today.

“Sociologists started to coin the term ‘hookup culture’ because they started to see this phenomenon happen on college campuses where people were experiencing relationships primarily through a sexual encounter and maybe something would happen after that,” Nolot said. “But most relationships were starting through some type of sexual encounter.”

The film will premiere at the Newport Beach Film Festival in April.