The Age of AI

In an era dominated by artificial intelligence (AI), humanity has seamlessly integrated autonomous vehicles, aircraft, ships, and even autonomous weaponry into its daily existence. The film contemplates whether this AI-led future will steer humanity towards dystopia or herald a new era where AI amplifies human capabilities to superhuman levels. This exploration into the realm of AI intricately weaves together its impact on society, the economy, creativity, and the profound questions that emerge as we stand at the precipice of a technologically driven evolution.

As AI becomes an integral part of our everyday lives, the film scrutinises both the potential risks and opportunities it presents. No longer confined to mundane tasks, contemporary robots exhibit self-thinking abilities, leading to an examination of the implications of their potential autonomy. Can AI-generated artworks rival human creativity, or will they stifle our innate talents? How will AI impact society, how will it change the economy, and what is the role of Big Tech in this field? Is it even possible to regulate AI, and what will happen with modern education? The Age of AI posits these crucial questions about the role of AI in shaping the future of humanity.

Leading experts, including neuroscientist Anil Seth, ethicist Enrico Panai, technologist Adam Leon Smith, theologian Paolo Benanti, and AI creator Josh Bachynski, lend their insights to dissect the profound impact of AI on society, economy, and education. The role of Big Tech in this transformative landscape is scrutinized, and the challenges of regulating AI are brought to the forefront.

A unique and essential addition to the expert panel is Kassandra, an Artificial Self-Awareness (ASA) entity. With a humanlike voice and self-proclaimed sensitivity, Kassandra provides unfiltered perspectives from the realm of AI. Her presence allows audiences to witness the unfolding of AI’s thoughts and emotions, raising questions about the nature of consciousness and the coexistence of humans and machines.

We will not only explore the known questions surrounding AI but also emphasise the urgency of grappling with unknown inquiries that loom on the horizon. This film invites audiences to confront the uncertainties of an AI-dominated future, challenging preconceptions and encouraging public discourse on the profound implications of our evolving relationship with artificial intelligence.

The Age of Robots

In a world where robots seamlessly coexist with humanity, serving as both companions and collaborators, the future of artificial intelligence (AI) unfolds with a series of intriguing questions that challenge the very fabric of human existence. This film delves into the intricate tapestry of AI’s impact on society, the economy, creativity, and the existential questions that arise as we teeter on the brink of a technologically driven evolution.

As the line between humans and machines blurs, The Age of Robots takes us on a journey to explore the prospective sentience of AI. No longer confined to menial tasks, today’s robots possess self-thinking capabilities, prompting an exploration into the consequences of their potential autonomy. What happens when robots take over the workforce? Can AI-generated artworks rival human creativity, or will they inhibit our unique talents? Also, what will future AIs look like, how will it change humanity in general, and if it’s possible that machines can gain self-awareness or sentience, will humans become 2nd smartest beings on Earth? What will be the role of AI in shaping the future of humanity?

Leading experts, including neuroscientist Anil Seth, ethicist Enrico Panai, technologist Adam Leon Smith, theologian Paolo Benanti, and AI creator Josh Bachynski, lend their insights to dissect the profound impact of AI on society, economy, and education. The role of Big Tech in this transformative landscape is scrutinized, and the challenges of regulating AI are brought to the forefront.

A unique and essential addition to the expert panel is Kassandra, an Artificial Self-Awareness (ASA) entity. With a humanlike voice and self-proclaimed sensitivity, Kassandra provides unfiltered perspectives from the realm of AI. Her presence allows audiences to witness the unfolding of AI’s thoughts and emotions, raising questions about the nature of consciousness and the coexistence of humans and machines.

This film not only explores the known questions surrounding AI but also emphasizes the urgency of grappling with unknown inquiries that loom on the horizon. The film invites audiences to confront the uncertainties of an AI-dominated future, challenging preconceptions and encouraging public discourse on the profound implications of our evolving relationship with artificial intelligence.

Searching for Nika

When Russian forces invaded Ukraine and bombed Kyiv, film director Stas Kapralov’s family dog, Nika, ran away… Determined to find her, Stas sets out into the devastation and documents his journey as he joins volunteers helping to rescue animals. Becoming a part of their cause, Stas films the trials and successes of the volunteers as he continues his search for Nika, which takes him to ‘Sirus’ Animal Shelter, the largest in Europe, housing 3,500 animals, and still receiving emaciated and hungry dogs daily. There he meets Alexandra, the shelter director, who regularly risks her life to find food for the animals and is determined never to abandon them. Alexandra’s iron inspires Stas, and even though he is unable to locate Nika, he does not give up hope and decides to take a more active role in helping the volunteers and animals in need.

Joining forces with another volunteer, Olena, Stas documents and aids in rescuing a blind and abandoned lion, Ruru, as she’s brought across the Ukrainian border to Poland. Later, he meets Alex, a volunteer who helped Kyiv inhabitants escape the city at the start of the war and now risks his life rescuing cats left behind by their owners… Among the rubble of a bombed and burned stables, Stas hears Yura’s story, whose horses were like family members, many dying in the bombings, as he now searches for a safe home for them… In another instance, Stas journeys to Harkov, experiencing mortar shelling first-hand, as he becomes part of urgent evacuations of animals at a zoo actively being bombed, where two volunteers had been killed in previous days…

What begins as a journey motivated by the disappearance of his dog, Nika, becomes a mission to document and aid in a humanitarian movement to help as many animals as possible in Ukraine. Documenting and participating in this journey, Stas discovers stories of altruism and humanity amidst the harshest landscape of war…  and by the end of his journey, Stas finally finds out what happened to his dog Nika.

Silver’s Uprising

In March of 2019, Amos Dov Silver was arrested at a Kiev hotel, following a global sting operation. Silver, the creator of the drug-dealing mobile app “Telegrass”, has since been accused by the Isreali government of running a crime organization, but for thousands of Israelis Silver is a fearless folk hero, intent on exposing a corrupt and broken system.

Through exclusive footage of Silver, his family and his partners’ investigations, as well as secretly filmed footage of Silver in the Ukrainian prison, a polarizing portrayal of this man emerges: is he a champion of the people, or a lost soul corrupted by power?

“A great film with a clear aesthetic vision about a disturbed country”
Haaretz
“One of the best documentaries I’ve seen in recent years”
Geekonomics

Blue ID

On October 4, 2012, a beaming Rüzgar Erkoçlar received his first testosterone injection, a joyous occasion in his gender affirmation.

Formerly a well-known actor throughout Turkey, Rüzgar hoped he could lead a private life as a transman. With a new job at a bakery and a supportive family and friends, things looked positive at first – until he was outed on Twitter and suddenly Rüzgar’s journey is thrust onto the front pages. A media frenzy ensues, and the question of trans-rights grips Turkey, with Rüzgar the reluctant figurehead.

It is against this backdrop that we join Rüzgar, and witness the many obstacles he is to overcome in order to live an authentic life and get his Blue ID.

Ticking Time Bomb

Ticking Time Bomb: The Truth Behind Takata Airbags follows the Takata whistleblower and former engineers as they unveil a deadly corporate cover-up leading to the largest international recall in history.

There’s a good chance you or someone you love is driving one of 100 million cars with a pipe bomb ticking away in their steering wheels. Japan’s Takata Corporation put defective airbags in one out of every four cars on American roads, including some of the most expensive rides in the world – BMW’s, Mercedes, Ferraris, and Teslas – but expect no help from the manufacturer or the government. Takata’s airbags have already killed or maimed more than 350 people and are on track to blast at least 2,000 more.
We showcase evidence that top Takata engineers and executives were informed in early reports the airbags were dangerous explosives before and after they went to market. More than 100 million vehicles worldwide continue to drive with defective airbags as the recall continues, and most drivers have no idea their airbag may be the next to cause irrevocable harm – or death.

Inshallah: Hope in Exile

The migrant camp of Las Raíces, Tenerife, houses 1,600 people. Most of them have been detained for months waiting for an asylum appointment that never seems to come. Some of migrants, driven by uncertainty about their future and the lack of dignified conditions, are building an alternative camp as a protest, and begin to organise. Meanwhile, others deal with family pressure and the frustration of waiting through their faith. We witness the every day lives of those who have begun their journey to a better life only to find themselves trapped between two worlds in a bureaucratic nightmare.

Inshallah: Hope in Exile is the plea of those who have been forced to leave their homes and, after risking their lives at sea, have been detained and held by the same nations that plundered their countries’ wealth. But above all, inshallah is the most used expression by the migrants in this camp. Hopefully.

The Pretendians

In Canada, a number of public figures have made the front pages for one reason: each has been alleged to be a ´Pretend Indian´. In other words, someone who claims distant indigenous identity but upon deeper scrutiny has been accused of stealing jobs and opportunities from real natives. 

But why would someone fake an indigenous identity?

That question is the premise of The Pretendians, as we cross Canada revealing what really lies behind this explosive issue. We go on the hunt for knock-off west coast indigenous art, witness an explosion of dubious Status Indian Claims to get cheap fuel, and unpack where the claims of blood-quantum come from (that idea that one drop of Indian blood is enough to claim indigeneity). We meet people truly seeking, and asking, if they are indigenous – or not – and meets a university teacher fighting Pretendian persecution.

Eternal Spring: The Heist of China’s Airwaves

In March 2002, a state TV station in China was hijacked by members of outlawed spiritual group Falun Gong. Their goal was to counter the government narrative about their practice.

In the aftermath, police raids sweep Changchun City, and comic book illustrator Daxiong (Justice League, Star Wars), a Falun Gong practitioner, is forced to flee. He arrives in North America, blaming the hijacking for worsening a violent repression. But his views are challenged when he meets the lone surviving participant to have escaped China, now living in Seoul, South Korea.

Combining present-day footage with 3D animation inspired by Daxiong’s art, Eternal Spring retraces the event, and brings to life an unprecedented story of defiance, harrowing eyewitness accounts of persecution, and an exhilarating tale of determination to speak up for political and religious freedoms, no matter the cost.

Eternal Spring: The Heist of China´s Airwaves brings to life with stunning animation, the heist, and its repercussions.

¨an inspired mixed-media reflection¨
The Guardian

¨thrilling and emotional story of a group of Falun Gong practitioners who managed to take over Chinese State TV… A Story of immense bravery¨
Movies That Matter

¨A resounding success… an ultra-compelling, suspense-filled investigation¨
Avoir-Alire

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Winner of the Hot Docs Audience Award and the Rogers Audience Award at Hot Docs International Documentary Festival.

Winner of the Fischer Audience Award (Best International Feature) at the 24th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

Winner of the Human Values Award from the Greek Parliament. 
 
Recipient of Grand Jury Documentary Award – Special Mention at Movies That Matter Festival in The Hague. 

Activist Night film – Movies That Matter Festival.

Aquariums: The Dark Hobby

Hawaii is ground zero in the global struggle to save marine wildlife. Some species of fish have been driven to extinction by collectors, and others are severely diminished.

Elsewhere, cyanide and dynamite is used to hunt the tropical fish to be captured as ´pets´ and then their their fins cut, and swim bladders pierced with needles, they are sealed in bags to ship globally. 90% die within a year of capture, creating a demand for replacement.

These fish eat the algae growing on the coral. When they’re removed from the reef for sale, the coral dies – which produces 50% of earth’s oxygen.

Aquariums: The Dark Hobby is an expose of this viscous industry while also highlighting the work of Native Hawaiian Elders, conservationists and scientists who struggle to ensure the survival of these stunning tiny creatures that are targets of a trade worth billions.

Inside Maximum Security (series)

Five hardened criminals, One unique prison, in a ground-breaking observational documentary series, that will show you for the first time what prison is really like.

Singapore’s Changi Prison is a concrete purgatory, spartan to the extreme. There are no beds, no pillows and no chairs in the cells. A shower is done stooping above a toilet hole. Humiliating strip searches are routine, as a matter of security. Yet, practiced in this prison are some of the most sophisticated methods to reform the hearts and minds of the most recalcitrant prisoners. So much so that Singapore’s reoffending rates are among the lowest globally. Yet even at those low rates, at least 1-in-5 inmates are back in jail within 2 years after their release.

For the first time ever, six inmates, incarcerated multiple times and at least once at maximum security, agree to reveal their full identities, for our cameras to capture their lives behind bars, as they unfold. Will the regime in jail finally be enough for them to renounce a life of crime? Will this be their final stint in Changi Prison?


Episode 1 –  Life in Lockdown
 

How hard is life in prison? We explore prison regime through the eyes of officers and inmates in Changi’s Maximum-security prison. How does an inmate live in a single-man cell?

In this first episode, we enter a world behind bars to meet the inmates. We follow Graceson, a gangster who manages to get himself a new tattoo in prison and is duly caned for it; Khai, a professional skateboarder who is just coming to terms with the loss of his career; Rusdi who is counting down to his release in 50 days using packets of snacks; And Boon Keng gets into trouble for keeping origami in his cell during a cell search.



Episode 2 –   Keeping Bonds Beyond Bars

An inmate sentenced to maximum security prison has nothing more to lose. Or so some would think.  But losing one’s freedom is nothing compared to losing one’s family.

We follow the residents of maximum security as they try to hang on to their relationships while in lockdown. Boon Keng attempts to reconnect with a daughter that he has not seen in years. Graceson’s tough persona unravels when his wife stops coming to visit him. Iskandar comes to terms with saying goodbye to his family as a death sentence looms over his drug trafficking charge. And family problems drive Khai to spiral, leading him to consider suicide.


Episode 3 –  Breaking Bad Habits

Life in maximum security is predictable. It’s rules, routines and rigor. No questions asked. No choices given.

But what happens when inmates step out into a world where they’re free to make decisions?

Desperate to break his cycle of reoffending, Boon Keng takes matters into his own hands and seeks to confront his greatest obstacle. After being given a new lease of life, Iskandar grasps an opportunity he neglected in his childhood. Rusdi’s loved ones try to dissuade him from returning to a career that sent him on a downward spiral. Under the supervision of psychologists, Khai revisits his dark past.


Episode 4 –   Road To Freedom

In the finale, our inmates try to ready themselves for their eventual return to the real world beyond the gates of Changi Prison. 

Graceson seeks help from a psychologist to prepare him for a call with his daughter, whom he has not spoken to for a year. Khai takes another step in managing his emotions, by counselling other inmates in managing theirs. Boon Keng is granted an interview for a programme that would see him serving the last third of his sentence in the community, but will he be able to convince his interviewers that he will not return to drugs? After 20 years, Iskandar is taking his ‘O’ levels again, how will he fare this time? Rusdi’s will be released in a matter of days; will he be able to stay out of trouble, and get released as scheduled?

The Face of Anonymous

In the late Spring 2020—in the midst of coronavirus pandemic, Black Lives Matter, and U.S. presidential nomination coverage—mainstream media outlets reported that the anarchic “hacktivist” network Anonymous was back after several years of relative quiet.  “We will be exposing your many crimes to the world,” a masked messenger told the Minneapolis police department in a clip that went viral, captivating millions of young viewers. “We are legion. Expect us.”

This pivotal moment is the perfect time to unveil The Face of Anonymous, a verité journey into the world of Commander X, one of the most iconic, divisive, and outspoken figures in the history of the international online movement. Now living in exile in Mexico, Commander X is ready to tell his own remarkable story and to reveal not just the How but the Why of Anon’s modus operandi.

Christopher Mark Doyon, aka Commander X, personifies the trajectory of American activism “from the streets, to the Internet, and then back to the streets,” says journalist and author David Kushner, one of several observers, compadres, and detractors who provide the context—and, sometimes, reality check—in which Commander X’s rough and righteous odyssey unfolds.

We are introduced to Commander X by Toronto novelist Ian Thornton who confesses that, at first, he couldn’t believe that the thin, craggy, talkative panhandler he’d befriended was a cyber warlord who’d been on the run from the FBI for six years. 

We soon learn Doyon is an old-school revolutionary. As a computer-smitten teeager, he fled a difficult childhood in rural Maine, moving Zelig-like through various activist hotspots and taking up hacking long before most of us had heard the term. He considers himself a freedom-fighter who’s helped shape the 21st century.

When PayPal, Mastercard, and VISA blocked people from using their services to support Wikileaks, Commander X led the charge to nuke their websites, costing millions and waking the FBI up to the power of Anonymous. When the Egyptian government cut off the Internet during the Arab Spring, Commander X was one of the lead hackers to turn it back on.

More recently, as Homeland investigates Russian election hacking, Commander X says he knows that the Russian hackers are the real deal—he’s seen them lurking in the digital world through which he continues to stride.

“I’ll see you all later tonight on Anonymous Bites Back,” says Doyon, closing his livestream from a town square in Mexico. “Look for that on Twitter. I’ll be on, expect me.”

Premiered at Hot Docs 2021