Has internet anonymity unleashed a ‘dark demon’ lurking in all of us? A film that reveals the hard truths surrounding anonymity, dark instincts and freedom on the internet.
Smartphones have put the internet into our pockets and billions of people around the world are now connected online. Our lives have improved greatly, but this “freedom” has also made us vulnerable to a new kind of predator – the internet troll. Hiding behind a veil of anonymity, trolls indulge their darkest impulses, attacking whoever they want with impunity. Once you become the target of a Troll, what starts as a minor annoyance can escalate into a living nightmare. But who are Trolls? And will the fight to stop them destroy our personal freedoms? In Rise of the Trolls we meet:
- One of the internet’s most notorious trolls, who spends hours every week insulting and infuriating as many people as he can – just for the laughs
- Britain’s most notorious Troll. A young woman who was jailed in England for sending six threatening tweets.
- The very first recorded troll in internet history, who led a digital ‘invasion’ of a cat lover’s chat board.
- A feminist blogger whose trolls are ramping up their tactics to harass her family.
- A Canadian psychologist who published the first ever study of internet trolls, uncovering the four dark personality traits that drive trolls in their cruelty.
- An accused Twitter troll whose precedent-setting court case will affect freedom of speech online worldwide.
- A digital forensics expert who tracks down the most technically adept trolls.
Rise of the Trolls from Sideways Film on Vimeo.
Code of Silence follows the parallel journeys of a fervently Orthodox Jewish father and his now-secular son, after the son Manny breaks the code of silence in Melbourne’s Orthodox community and goes public with his story of being sexually abused as a school student.
Manny Waks claims he was abused by an Orthodox Jewish security guard, who also taught boys karate, at the Yeshivah Centre in Melbourne. Now Manny is demanding his abuser be brought to justice, and the rabbis and Chabad leaders who tried to cover it up, are brought to account.
His father Zephaniah joins forces with his son, but soon finds he has been virtually excommunicated for breaking an ancient Jewish law forbidding Jews from informing secular authorities about other Jews.
We see how father and son split this tightly-knit, powerful Jewish community as we open the door into their insular world of study and duty, charity and faith, power and piety.
Will Manny get justice in court? Will the rabbis be held to account? And, what price will the father and son pay for blowing the whistle?
Code of Silence from Sideways Film on Vimeo.
Breaking the Silence follows the journey of Manny Waks who was, until recently, the only survivor of child sexual abuse within Melbourne’s Orthodox Jewish community to speak publicly.
This is the dramatic follow up to the Walkley Award winning Code of Silence.
Breaking the Silence begins with Manny Waks as he gives evidence at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sex Abuse, during which two ultra-Orthodox Jewish institutions are accused of covering-up and protecting perpetrators in the 1980s and 90s.
Over two explosive weeks inside Melbourne’s County Court, viewers will witness, for the first time, those rabbis and officials accused of the cover-ups take the stand and be grilled. For the first time, it is also revealed that Manny was not the only member of the family who was abused; Manny’s father Zephaniah Waks reveals two other sons were abused by a Yeshivah Centre teacher, David Kramer in the 1990’s. He had tried to have the abuse handled by community leaders but was subject to an ancient code of silence that forbids Jews from speaking about the allegations involving other Jews, to the police.
The result was that Zephaniah and his wife were virtually excommunicated and feeling isolated, they decided to relocate to Israel. Now his other son Yanky agrees to speak on camera for the first time.
After the hearings, Manny travels to the United States to confront one of the two men who he claims abused him. The film’s climax follows Manny to Los Angeles, where he meets a convicted pedophile who was given a suspended sentence for abusing AVB in Sydney in the 1980s. It’s a powerful moment between victim and abuser that delivers an unexpected conclusion.
Will Manny’s confrontation with the man he claims abused him give him peace of mind? And will his meeting with the convicted pedophile give him a crucial sense of resolution?
Breaking the Silence from Sideways Film on Vimeo.
At the age of 19 Samuel Stefan, consumed by crisis, was drawn into a cult. It would be 10 years before he was able to escape.
Using a technique called ‘love-bombing’ cults prey on the vulnerable, recruiting new members with love and warmth. After a period of brain-washing, members are forbidden to leave, enslaved through psychological control, and in Samuel’s case, even violence. He was finally able to escape in the dead of night, persued by other members and seek help.
Cult Witness is an intelligent exploration of how cults attract and manipulate their followers, sharing the disturbing firsthand experiences of Cult Witness director Samuel Stefan and six others who have freed themselves from cults: Jill Mytton (The Exclusive Brethren), Jim Bergin and Judy Garvey (The Gentle Wind Project), Lea Saskia Laasner (The Janus Project), and Celeste Jones and Amoreena Winkler (The Children of God).
Analytical insights into the cult experience are provided by leadership expert Betty Sue Flowers; Benjamin Zablocki, chair of the Department of Sociology at Rutgers University; UCLA Professor Emeritus Bertram Raven, an expert on interpersonal influence and social power relationships; psychotherapist Miguel Perlado, who specializes in cult-related problems; and Urs Eschmann, a specialist in legal issues involving cults.
Cult Witness unravels the hidden world of cults; the hold they have on their victims, the reasons people form and fall prey to them and what takes place within..