2021 Sundance Docs in Focus: A GLITCH IN THE MATRIX

Courtesy of Sundance Institute

Rodney Ascher goes down the rabbit hole of simulation theory.

Festival Section:

Sundance Program Description:

Rodney Ascher (Room 237, 2012 Sundance Film Festival) returns to the Festival with this fascinating and visually stimulating documentary examining simulation theory—the idea that this world we live in might not be entirely real. Simulation theory is as old as Plato’s Republic and as current as Elon Musk’s Twitter feed. A Glitch in the Matrix traces the idea’s genesis over the years, from philosophical engagements by the ancient Greeks to modern explorations by Philip K Dick, the Wachowskis, and leading scholars, game theorists, and enthusiasts. Ascher deftly parallels conversations with people who believe we’re living in a computer with the purely digital nature of the film itself; all interviews were conducted via Skype, all reenactments were digitally animated, and archives are largely drawn from ’90s-era cyber thrillers and video games. 

The allure of narratives about dominating forces controlling our lives resonates powerfully with life on Earth. Amidst advancing waves of technology within today’s sophisticated digital culture, A Glitch in the Matrix explores the scientific possibility of simulation theory while interrogating it as a symptom of twenty-first century existential crises.

Some Background:

Director/Executive Producer:
Rodney Ascher
Past Sundance docs:
ROOM 237
THE S FROM HELL (short, 2010)

Ascher’s fourth documentary feature is his third to screen at Sundance. It was originally slated for Tribeca’s 2020 lineup, and will be released by Magnolia Pictures on February 5 following its Sundance bow.

Ross M Dinerstein
Past Sundance docs:

Founder/CEO, Campfire. Dinerstein previously produced Sundance fiction feature alumni THE PACT and THE KILLING ROOM.

Executive Producers:
Colin Frederick
First Sundance credit. Manager, production and operations, Campfire.

Ross Girard
EVP, production, Campfire. Girard previously co-produced Sundance fiction feature alum title CALIFORNIA SOLO.

David Carrico
Founder/CEO, Valparaiso Pictures. Carrico is also a producer of 2021 Sundance US Dramatic Competition title ON THE COUNT OF THREE and previously executive produced Sundance fiction feature alum title THE SOUND OF SILENCE.

Adam Paulsen
Managing partner, Valparaiso Pictures. Paulsen also produced ON THE COUNT OF THREE. He previously held positions at 30West and CAA.

Co-Executive Producers:
Tim Kirk
Past Sundance docs:
ROOM 237

Kirk is a regular collaborator of Ascher. In addition to producing, he is a writer and director.

Rebecca Evans
First Sundance credit. VP, nonfiction content. Campfire. Evans has a background producing brand content and reality television for networks including MTV, VH1, NBC, and OWN.

Neil Tabatznik
Past Sundance docs:

Partner/co-founder, Blue Ice Docs. Tabatznik is a News & Documentary Emmy winner, and a co-owner or Toronto’s documentary-focused Bloor Hot Docs Cinema.

Robin Smith
Past Sundance docs:
WINNIE (2017)

CEO, Blue Ice Docs. Smith is also the owner and president of leading Canadian arthouse distributor, KinoSmith.

Tyler Glodt

First Sundance credit. Glodt previously worked with Ascher as a producer of his Shudder project PRIMAL SCREEN.

More Info:
Meet the Artist

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

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