NLD 2018, R: Hans Pool, 88 Min, OV (Englisch); Vorfilm: Pink Hair USA 2018, R: Marc Silver, 25 Min, OV (Englisch); insges. 113 Min
Bellingcat – Truth in a Post-Truth World follows the revolutionary rise of the “citizen investigative journalist” collective known as Bellingcat, a group of online researchers dedicated to exposing the truth of impenetrable news stories from around the world – from the MH17 disaster to the Syrian Civil War to the mysterious poisoning of a Russian spy in the United Kingdom. From his Leicester home, de facto leader Eliot and his team of truth-seekers put newspapers, networks and governments to the test. Bellingcat uses cutting-edge digital techniques and crowdsourcing to create a faster, more innovative approach than traditional research journalism. For the rst time, Bellingcat researchers in Germany, the Netherlands, Finland and the United States have given exclusive access to lmmaker Hans Pool, allowing him to follow the group on their path to demonstrate the power of open source investigation.
Bellingcat’s impact is examined through the lens of their current investigations, as well as the high-pro le con icts they’ve previously reported. In the three years since its inception, Bellingcat has produced a remarkable amount of breaking news while gaining a reputation for trailblazing journalism. For the rst time in history, Bellingcat’s efforts led the International Criminal Court to issue an arrest warrant solely based on social media evidence. Just last year, Dutch member Christiaan Triebert was awarded the European Press Prize for innovative journalism for his reporting on the failed Turkish coup.
In a web of propaganda disguised as truth, what drives Bellingcat forward? With governments growing less reliable by the day and traditional newspapers declining in both relevance and reach – how does Bellingcat, dismissed by some critics as an assortment of self-funded “armchair researchers”, have the ability to force powerful world leaders to the international courts where they are held accountable for their crimes? What does their success say about how our world has changed in the face of this century’s paradigm shifting developments in government, technology and social media?
Christopher Wylie, the so-called ‘data whistleblower’ who worked for Cambridge Analytica, reveals how, in early 2014, 87 million Facebook users information was taken without authorisation to build a system to profile and target US voters with personalised political advertisements. At the time the company was owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer and headed by Donald Trump’s key adviser, Steve Bannon.
Using the architecture Wylie helped to engineer, people are perceived as observable, measurable data sets, allowing for the prediction and modification of behaviour. No longer ‘simply’ about privacy, it has the capacity to create an entirely new level of social inequality. This short film acts as a beacon to investigate a system that is on its way to becoming an all encompassing new power structure that we currently know far too little about.