Surveillance Film Festival (Wgtn)

Has the portrayal of surveillance in films caught up with us? Dystopian
Big Brother films from the past show glimpses of a present reality. Spy
films and the machinations of spy paraphernalia capture our imagination
with fantastical technology. Stasi and Cold War intelligence policing
methods shock and titillate people. But Edward Snowden’s revelations
opened many eyes to the ubiquitous world of mass surveillance right here
and now.

The Surveillance Film Festival is an opportunity to explore the
portrayal of surveillance in films and documentaries and ponder the
reality of surveillance in our lives today.

Come and enjoy some films and see where the discussion takes us.

Venue: Thistle Hall, Upper Cuba, Wellington City

Friday 25th March

6:00 pm – Farenheit 451 (112mins)

Then onwards for after-film discussion and drinks at a local pub.

Saturday 26th March

11:00 am – The Program (8mins) and ABC Secret Room (9mins)

12:30 pm – Operation 8 (110mins)

3:00 pm – Every Step You Take (65mins)

5:30 pm – Maintenance of Silence (20mins)

7:00 pm – The Lives of Others (137mins)

The films

Farenheit 451 (1966) 112mins
In Bradbury’s dystopian future most people are mindless drones living
for instant gratification, they’re plugged into multi-media worlds with
television screens everywhere. News is controlled in censored bites,
deep-thinking and analysis don’t happen. War economy rules. Sound sort
of familiar?

The Program and ABC News, Secret Room (2012 & 2008) 17 mins
William Binney and Mark Klein are names that should be familiar. They
are whistleblowers who spoke about mass surveillance prior to Snowden’s
revelations. The info was out there for us, but so many chose not to
listen. Why didn’t we want to know about the surveillance then? Why are
we already ignoring Snowden’s revelations?

Operation 8: Deep in the Forest (2011) 110mins
Eight years ago in October dawn raids woke many people, people were
briefly jailed and allegations of terrorism were thrown about based on
evidence gained by surveillance. This country has a long history of
surveillance, see how it was used in this most public case to hinder and
control people and think about what is happening now.

Every Step You Take (2007) 65mins
CCTV and face recognition are examples of surveillance to keep people
safe. Ten years ago the technology shocked, now it is old. How quick
does it all change and how accepting do we become?

Maintenance of Silence (1985) 20mins
Awareness of surveillance seemed to be more common a few decades ago.
Tens of thousands protested against the expansion of police and SIS
powers, later the Wanganui Computer was bombed. Then Neil Roberts left
the quote from Junta Tuitiva of La Paz, ‘We have maintained a silence
closely resembling stupidity’. What does our silence now resemble?

The Lives of Others (2006) 137mins
Surveillance and oppression on the other side of the iron curtain has
been a favourite subject for a lot of films. But how different is that
past from the future here?