Tribeca 2023 Review: “This is Not Financial Advice” Invests in the Power of Personality

“I’m the brokest millionaire you know,” Glauber “Pro” Contessoto tells a pair of podcast hosts in “This is Not Financial Advice,” alluding to the millions he’s amassed in the cryptocurrency of dogecoin and the hundreds of dollars he actually has to his name, scrounging around for coins around his apartment to do his laundry when he isn’t being celebrated online for being a financial genius who has built a fortune from nothing. It’s understandable how this could happen, though it has nothing to do with being savvy with money as directors Chris Temple and Zach Ingrasci capture Contessoto’s brusque charms, delighted to see himself on the front page of the New York Times Business section without knowing what the author of the article meant by calling him “affable” and willing to bet big on himself, taking every real penny he has to put into dogecoin and refusing to sell even when the market goes south. The investment in crypto may not yield much, but in building a brand by claiming so adamantly that it will, Contessoto can’t help but look like some kind of savant.

Although Contessoto’s monetary wealth may be illusory in the timely doc, there is value to what Temple and Ingrasci capture in this current moment as they try to make sense of the alternate financial world that exists online where there may be money to be made, but more in touting how and what to invest in rather than actually buying stock. As the film’s title suggests, there is no endorsement of what you’re seeing, though one may raise an eyebrow at the directors’ inclusion of follower counts along with subject names that would seem to use as proof of their legitimacy and besides Contessoto, they follow a trio of people who don’t look like your typical day traders yet keep an eye glued all day to market trends in Kayla Kilbride, who has built a healthy viewership on TikTok with bite-sized financial advice; Rayz Rayl, a gambler by heart that has plunged his family finances into whatever new crypto seems hot, much to his wife’s dismay; and Semay Kenfe, who is unlikely to invest in anything so volatile as crypto yet has found the internet to be helpful as someone who would’ve had no access or knowledge about the stock market otherwise.

From the very first scene of Contessoto attempting to jam an arcade console into his small apartment in Hollywood, it is clear he’s the star attraction of “This is Not Financial Advice,” making for a slightly awkward structure where the filmmakers seem loathe to leave his story for another, especially when the fate of his dogecoin account can rise and fall on events as frivolous as how evangelist Elon Musk fares hosting “Saturday Night Live.” However, as much as their subjects might not heed the traditional advice of diversifying a portfolio, Temple and Ingrasci do to show the radically different attitudes towards accumulating wealth from past generations but at the same time how success in the present-day financial markets is rooted in the same behavior that fueled the old one — grabbing attention, gathering the right information and just plain getting lucky. “This is Not Financial Advice” appears to have reaped the benefits of all three and pays off handsomely as a result.

“This is Not Financial Advice” will screen at Tribeca Festival at the AMC 19th St. East at 8:45 pm on June 12th and June 15th.

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