Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web

Posted Sunday 02 Jul 2017

Kim Dotcom Caught in the Web small

Director Annie Goldson's impressively detailed documentary clearly sets out the battle between Dotcom and the US government and entertainment industry, going to the heart of ownership, privacy and piracy in the digital age.

Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web
2017, 108 minutes
Festivals: SXSW, Hot Docs 2017

Kim Dotcom has become such a familiar part of New Zealand's media and cultural furniture that it is easy to forget the jaw-dropping astonishment of the dawn raid on 20 January 2012, when 76 officers swarmed upon the German internet mogul's mansion, bounding from helicopters, armed to the teeth.

In the definitive filmed account of the saga to date, Annie Goldson (Brother Number One) delivers a jolting reminder of the legal, political and personal upheavals ignited by the US government's attempt to extradite Dotcom and colleagues for copyright-related offences. It begins with the formative years: convicted hacker turns security consultant turns file-sharing entrepreneur. He attracts the attention of Hollywood bosses bent not just upon disabling a website awash with pirated content, but sending a resounding message to those who might seek to emulate his business.

A freshly compelling chronicle of the Dotcom years, Caught in the Web corrals a range of voices, among them journalists David Fisher and Glenn Greenwald, Motion Picture Association of America counsel Steve Fabrizio, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, musician Moby and Dotcom himself.

In documenting the drama - court tussles, scraps with John Key, the Internet Party, the 'Moment of Truth' - Goldson resists any temptation to extol or excoriate, while underscoring, beyond the political circus and braggadocio, just how pivotal this case is in the internet age. - Toby Manhire


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Free Theatre

Posted Sunday 02 Jul 2017

Free Theatre small

Shirley Horrocks is firmly in the driver's seat of this documentary, being the director, producer, writer and co-researcher - and, impressively, it's her 10th documentary to screen at the NZIFF.

Free Theatre
2017, 76 minutes, World Premiere

Founded by Peter Falkenberg in 1979, Christchurch's Free Theatre has provided a remarkably persistent alternative to the city's more vaunted legacy of traditional theatre. Favouring the event-based over the text-based, Falkenberg has steeped a succession of actors, writers and theatre technicians in the practice of an avant-garde theatre that has strong roots in his native Germany, while being constantly responsive to political and social change.

Free Theatre has often courted controversy and the film is studded with remembered provocations: audiences at a production of 1984 were separated from their friends and even forcibly evicted by costumed security guards.

Filmmaker Shirley Horrocks, who began shooting seven years ago when she first encountered Free Theatre's touring production Distraction Camp, is especially attentive to the shift in focus and a less combative - though no less satiric - imaginative engagement with community activation since the earthquakes.

At 37, Free Theatre has proven as definitive and resilient a Christchurch institution as the one Falkenberg set out to oppose, and richly deserving of Horrocks' documentary salute.