2019 Sundance Docs in Focus: THE INVENTOR: OUT FOR BLOOD IN SILICON VALLEY

Courtesy of Sundance Institute | photo by Drew Kelly

THE INVENTOR: OUT FOR BLOOD IN SILICON VALLEY
Alex Gibney examines the high-profile rise and fall of discredited health tech company Theranos.

Festival Section:
Documentary Premieres

Sundance Program Description:

Elizabeth Holmes arrived in Silicon Valley with a revolutionary medical invention. She called it “the Edison”: a small, hyper-sophisticated black box that performed 200 tests in minutes, all from a single drop of blood. Needles, laboratories, and the select few companies that controlled them would become instantly obsolete. Like Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, and Thomas Edison himself, Holmes intended to tear down and revolutionize an entire industry.

The hitch? All of it was a lie. The system was a hoax. And what began as one of 2014’s hottest tech companies – valued at nine billion dollars – dissolved into a fraudulent, bankrupt scheme that exposed Silicon Valley’s underbelly.

THE INVENTOR investigates how Holmes deceived backers as influential as Henry Kissinger and James Mattis, but it also reveals the long-standing American practice of scientific fakery and performance: numerous inventors (including Edison himself) have publicly proclaimed breakthroughs before they actually invented what they boasted about. Master filmmaker Alex Gibney boldly takes on the great myths surrounding America’s entrepreneurial elites at a time when tech titans have never looked so vulnerable to their own hubris.

Some Background:
Director/Producer:

Producers:

  • Erin Edeiken

    Jigsaw’s Edeiken previously served as line producer for HISTORY OF THE EAGLES PART ONE and has been post producer for many of Gibney’s recent projects.

  • Jessie Deeter
    Past Sundance docs:

    WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR?

    Deeter is a northern California-based director/producer who most recently produced DO YOU TRUST THIS COMPUTER?.

Associate Producer:

  • Ophelia Harutyunyan

    Jigsaw’s Harutyunyan has previously served as Gibney’s executive assistant, while also producing digital content for the company’s projects.

Executive Producers:

Co-Executive Producers:

  • Stacey Offman
    Past Sundance docs:

    ROBIN WILLIAMS: COME INSIDE MY MIND
    CITY OF GHOSTS
    WATER & POWER
    THE NEW YORKER PRESENTS
    WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN? (2008)

    Jigsaw Productions’ SVP of production and development has executive produced several of Gibney’s docs and series, most recently including ENEMIES: THE PRESIDENT, JUSTICE & THE FBI and DIVIDE AND CONQUER: THE STORY OF ROGER AILES.

  • Richard Perello
    Past Sundance docs:

    ROBIN WILLIAMS: COME INSIDE MY MIND
    WATER & POWER
    THE NEW YORKER PRESENTS

    The Jigsaw Productions’ COO and EVP of production also served as producer for Sundance narrative alumni projects, including SUPER TROOPERS (2001).

Editor:

  • Andy Grieve
    Past Sundance docs:

    GOING CLEAR
    WE STEAL SECRETS
    THE CARTER (2009)
    MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET) (2007)

Co-Editor:

  • Alexis Johnson
    Past Sundance docs:

    ZERO DAYS VR (2017)
    GOING CLEAR

Why You Should Watch:
Gibney conducts a fascinating postmortem on Theranos, gaining access to whistleblowers, journalists, and others close to the story. Just as important as his investigation into Holmes and entrepreneurial deception is how the film reveals our collective desire to believe in too good to be true claims like those promised by the Edison device. The doc will premiere as one of this year’s Day One screenings.

More Info:

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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