Data—arguably the world’s most valuable asset—is being weaponized to wage cultural and political wars. The dark world of data exploitation is uncovered through the unpredictable, personal journeys of players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data story.
Friends since high school, 20-somethings Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman have an idea: a Web site for people to conduct business with municipal governments. This documentary tracks the rise and fall of govWorks.com from May of 1999 to December of 2000, and the trials the business brings to the relationship of these best friends. Kaleil raises the money, Tom’s the technical chief. A third partner wants a buy out; girlfriends come and go; Tom’s daughter needs attention. And always the need for cash and for improving the site. Venture capital comes in by the millions. Kaleil is on C-SPAN, CNN, and magazine covers. Will the business or the friendship crash first?
The Square, a new film by Jehane Noujaim (Control Room; Rafea: Solar Mama), looks at the hard realities faced day-to-day by people working to build Egypt’s new democracy. Catapulting us into the action spread across 2011 and 2012, the film provides a kaleidoscopic, visceral experience of the struggle. Cairo’s Tahrir Square is the heart and soul of the film, which follows several young activists. Armed with values, determination, music, humor, an abundance of social media, and sheer obstinacy, they know that the thorny path to democracy only began with Hosni Mubarek’s fall. The life-and-death struggle between the people and the power of the state is still playing out.