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film status: in production


The Realists, produced and directed by filmmaker Elena Rossini, is the sequel of the critically acclaimed documentary The Illusionists.

Part film, part educational platform, The Realists – which is currently in production – will explore the dark side of our digital economy. The aim of The Realists is to shed light on surveillance capitalism, microtargeting, addictive technology and the weaponization of our personal data. The project encourages people to recognize surveillance capitalism – and resist it.

The Realists documentary surveillance adtech


The rise of social media offered tantalizing promises: the ability to connect with friends and anyone in the world with an internet connection; the power to be in more than one place at once; to have the world’s information at one’s fingertips; to reach a worldwide audience instantaneously; to find love and meaningful connections. And yet, ten years after the introduction of social media, there has been a sharp rise in mental health issues, anxiety, addiction to screens and isolation.

More worringly, the vast amount of data people have been uploading to free services like Facebook and Instagram has been exploited, re-packaged and sold by Big Tech companies. The ultimate goal: to create the ideal consumers of the digital age.

THE REALISTS will take viewers on a journey across four continents, showing how these new tools are impacting the lives of billions of people all over the world. The project will explore topics such as: surveillance capitalism; addictive tech platforms; the unattainable life standards incessantly promoted by visual social networks; how technological devices have replaced toys and play, impacting child development around the world; how a country is introducing a social score for all its citizens.

On the flip side, THE REALISTS will also showcase stories of inspiring individuals and organizations that are using tech as a tool of positive change – online and off.

With pragmatic advice and collective action, THE REALISTS will encourage viewers and readers to become active participants, adopting new habits that will lead them to a more mindful use of technology.

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