On Sunday the Woodstock Film Festival hosted a special sold-out screening of the upcoming Netflix documentary THE GREAT HACK at Upstate Films Woodstock, with in-person appearances from Academy Award-nominated directors Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer, executive producer Sarah E Johnson, and surprise guest Brittany Kaiser, the former Cambridge Analytica executive and whistleblower. Kaiser is one of the main subjects in this captivating, illuminating documentary about the company behind the data hacking scandal that influenced the 2016 US presidential elections, and political campaigns world-wide.
Following the screening, Kaiser, and the filmmakers, spoke to the audience about her personal journey: starting out her career as a human rights campaigner, then being hired by an organization that was largely credited with influencing the direction of the 2016 US elections, then becoming one of Cambridge Analytica’s primary whistleblowers. She now campaigns and lobbies federal and state governments to recognize personal data as private property.
The audience praised the film for provoking them to think about the way we use social media in an age when privacy no longer exists and Facebook feeds are populated by images of dogs and babies next to Russian-sponsored campaign ads. “How do I know what is true and what isn’t?” asked one viewer. Kaiser and the filmmakers spoke about the various organizations now developing fact-checking platforms, and the many steps developers, campaigners, and ordinary people are taking in anticipation of the 2020 elections.
THE GREAT HACK comes out on Netflix this Wednesday, July 24.