2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: NOBODY SPEAK: HULK HOGAN, GAWKER AND TRIALS OF A FREE PRESS

nobody speakNOBODY SPEAK: HULK HOGAN, GAWKER AND TRIALS OF A FREE PRESS
Brian Knappenberger investigates the erosion of the freedom of the press in the face of financial inequity.

Festival Section:
US Documentary Competition

Sundance Program Description:

When online tabloid Gawker posted a sex tape starring former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan, a high-stakes legal battle pitting privacy rights against the First Amendment ensued. Hogan won the case and the staggering settlement he received not only bankrupted Gawker and its founder Nick Denton, but also exposed a controversial, behind-the-scenes benefactor: Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel.

Whether you love or hate Gawker, Brian Knappenberger’s gripping polemic reveals the forces that really brought down the news portal. Taking examples like Sheldon Adelson’s purchase of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, this compelling documentary illustrates a growing, sinister trend at odds with our country’s free press. Corporate executives, titans, and billionaires are tipping the balance on the public’s access to news, posing new threats to society’s relationship to the truth.

Knappenberger’s knack for capturing timely and provocative shifts in the new digital era is instinctive. Fusing exhaustive interviews with Denton, commentators, and journalists NOBODY SPEAK weaves a disturbing, fascinating tale of power and truth whose moral runs to the core of democracy.

Some Background:
Director/Executive Producer/Co-Editor:

Producers:

  • Submarine’s Femke Wolting and Bruno Felix
    Past Sundance docs:

    THE LAND OF THE ENLIGHTENED (2016, co-producers)
    THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT (2016, co-producers)

    Wolting and Felix are the founders and managing directors of Amsterdam-based production company Submarine. They also co-produced fellow 2017 Sundance title WINNIE.

Co-Producer:

  • Nora Chute
    Chute previously associate produced Knappenberger’s docuseries for Pivot, TRUTH AND POWER.

Editor:

  • Andrew McAllister
    McAllister previously cut TRUTH AND POWER.

Assistant Editor:

  • Kevin Cheung
    Cheung’s previous credits also include TRUTH AND POWER.

Co-Editors:

  • Jason Decker, Tom Maroney, Kaylyn Thornal
    Decker previously cut THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY and TRUTH AND POWER. Maroney and Thornal also worked on TRUTH.

Why You Should Watch:
In his latest doc, Knappenberger expands on themes from his previous films which looked at the use of legal prosecution to stifle the public’s access to information. While those focused on hackers and internet activists often working in legally murkier terrain, this new project firmly zeroes in on the fourth estate as it faces alarming and financially ruinous challenges to the First Amendment and objectivity.

More Info:
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For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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