The Cleaners

Monday, June 18, 2018

New York Premiere!

Screening followed by panel discussion with filmmakers Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck, film subject and UCLA professor Sarah T. Roberts, PhD, and Sarah St. Vincent, Researcher/ Advocate, US Program, HRW Moderated by Dinah PoKempner, General Counsel, HRW.

“The companies have more and more power…. They take advantage of our desire for ease, our resistance to effort, our resistance to challenge, and I think, over time, if we’re not already there, it will interfere with our ability to have critical thinking.”
– David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression, film subject, The Cleaners

Who controls what you see on the internet? Welcome to a hidden industry of digital cleaning where content determined as inappropriate is deleted from the internet. This fascinating documentary follows five “cleaners” in the Philippines whom social media giants, including Facebook and Twitter, hire to undertake the highly sensitive work of viewing and removing millions of images and videos from online platforms every day. Exposing the extreme and often life-threatening impact of censorship capable of disappearing entire conversations, perspectives, and events from world view, The Cleaners expertly reveals how critics of the US president, activists in Turkey, and the Rohingya in Myanmar are impacted by Silicon Valley’s control over free speech.

Please be advised this film contains material that may be disturbing to some viewers.

Official selection: Int’l Film Festival Rotterdam 2018, Sundance Film Festival, CPH:DOX, San Francisco Int’l Film Festival, Moscow Int’l Film Festival, Hot Docs Canadian Int’l Documentary Festival

A vital forum for cinema that tackles important global issues, HRWFF annually showcases an international selection of acclaimed films that bring human rights struggles to life through storytelling—challenging, provocative movies that call for justice and social change.

Additional screenings take place at the Film Society of Lincoln Center.

Human Rights Watch Film Festival

  • Country Germany/Brazil/Netherlands/USA
  • Language English and Tagalog with English subtitles
  • Year 2018
  • Running Time 88 minutes
  • Director Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck
  • Writer Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck, Georg Tschurtschenthaler
  • Editor Philipp Gromov, Markus Schmidt, Hansjorg Weißbrich
  • Cinematographer Max Preiss, Axel Schneppat

IFC Center does not generally provide advisories about subject matter or potentially triggering content in films, as sensitivities vary from person to person. In addition to the synopses, trailers and other links on our website, further information about content and age-appropriateness for specific films can be found on Common Sense Media, IMDb and as well as through general internet searches.