The Dirty Secret of our Digital Addiction
Length: 73 mins
Director: Sue Williams
Producer: Sue Williams + Hilary Steinman
Writer: Sue Williams
Sue Williams has produced and directed five critically acclaimed, feature documentaries about China for national PBS broadcast, including Frontline. Sue also directed two highly praised biographies on Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary Pickford for the PBS series, American Experience. Her films have been broadcast in more than 25 countries, won numerous awards and appeared in festivals around the world.
Key cast: Ma Jun, Ted Smith, Paul Maher, Luke Soules and Kyle Wiens
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): sales agents, distributors and journalists
Funders: Impact Partners, MacArthur Foundation, Victoria Wang, Luce Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Foundation
Made in association with: Impact Partners
Release date: 2016
When will it screen? Sheffield: June 11 at 9:45am in showroom 1. MDFF: Jul 10, 2016 at 3pm. Traverse City Film Festival.
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Like most of us I thought the electronics industry was a clean one. When I learned it was basically a chemical handling industry, one that is seriously contributing to the destruction of the environment and global warming, I knew it was a story that needed to be told.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
We all love our devices, we all have them, we are all addicted to them. So we are all part of the problem and we need to be part of the solution.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
I began the film after I met Ma Jun, China’s leading environmental activist, who told me about the severe pollution created by the industry in China. This meeting set me off on a journey to learn about this – after all, I am as addicted to my phone and tablet as anyone else.
As I traveled from China, to towns across America, to Ireland and Germany, I realized this is a huge and universal story about planned obsolescence, corporate greed and the tipping point between consumption and environmental disaster.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
I touch on that in the answer above. I should add that, like so many films, it really came together in the edit room as we worked really hard to weave a coherent narrative out of the different geographic locations and the life cycle of our devices.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
People are shocked. And then they ask what they can do.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I actually thought people might be hostile about the film because it is hard to hear something negative about a thing you love, like your phone. But most people have just wanted to do something about it, which is great.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I want as many people around the world to think about how they use their devices and your platform is a wonderful way to reach people I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
We are fielding distribution and sales offers but we need more press attention to help get the message out.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I want this film to have a powerful impact on all those who see it so that consumers will ask the brands for real transparency and for clean and responsible supply chains.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
I think one key question is, how come we didn’t know this before?
Would you like to add anything else?
I encourage everyone to come to our website, http://deathbydesignfilm.com/ to learn more about the film and what they can do to make the situation better.
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I am also the co-founder of a digital platform called The Story Exchange - http://thestoryexchange.org/ - which promotes women’s economic independence through entrepreneurship. We profile women’s stories on our site through user-generated content as well as short videos, podcasts, and articles. I am also developing a couple of new documentaries with an environmental focus.
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela