MSNBC Gets Behind the Story of Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets
New documentary talks to the people who bought Gamestop shares
By Ikram Mohamed,
1:30PM, Fri. Apr. 8, 2022
Taking its name from a term coined by r/WallStreetBets Reddit users, Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets explores the jaw-dropping moment in 2021 when GameStop shares increased 1700% allowing average, working-class individuals to benefit from a system that continuously excludes them.
As Amanda Spain, Diamond HandsExecutive Producer, MSNBC Vice President of Longform Acquisitions, and native Texan, described the documentary (which debuted at South by Southwest 2022), to the investors it wasn’t just about making money off shares but rather fighting a system they weren’t included in and changing it for the better.
Monitoring the situation before it erupted, NBC producer Erica Fink was tracking the reddit community and so, having had their eye on the ball early on, NBC News Studios developed the film alongside directors Zackary Canepari and Drea Cooper through contacting various subjects seen within the film as the story was unfolding. Charting how stimulus checks, increased unemployment, and the creation of an app called Robin Hood allowed people to invest in the stock market for the first time in an easy, accessible way, Diamond Hands at its soul is a COVID story. Filled with memes and niche Reddit humor, Cooper and Canepari set out to encapsulate the feel of the internet communities where this story took place, as seen through the various memes and gifs present throughout the film.
Seeing as the story takes place in the depths of a reddit community, Spain said there was a decision to be on what side of these communities they wanted Diamond Hands to focus on. Spain explained, “There's a reason why there's four documentaries about this, because there are so many things to be said about it. We all decided that we didn't want to put some of that (negative) stuff out there and hurt people.”
While there are other films coming out regarding this topic, Spain said what sets Diamond Hands apart is their focus on their subjects, like Jeff Amazon "who wrote the manifesto that created this moment," she said. "We have a really great insight in our film that not everybody else had access. ... What we love about the film is the story of these young people that are really fighting a system they feel doesn't work for them.”
Although the film doesn’t exactly mirror MSNBCS's news and politics coverage, Spain described the film as encapsulating what they’re trying to do at the network through taking a much deeper dive into stories. By focusing less on what happened and more on how these young people felt, Spain said this documentary allows the network to take a step forward into the stories behind the stories they’re producing. She added that it’s really important to put a human face to these stories and give a deeper understanding of our own humanity. “I think the story at the end of the day was a moment where they got to express in a really radical way, and take on something that they never thought they could,” Spain said. “In a way, that's not going to ever end. There's always going to be a generation trying to fight the system. This is just one example of that.”
Diamond Hands: The Legend of WallStreetBets airs on MSNBC on Sunday, April 10, 9pm Central. The film is set to stream the next day on Peacock. Read our SXSW Film review here.