by Moritz Riesewieck & Hans Block
Enter a hidden third world shadow industry of digital cleaning, where the Internet rids itself of what it doesn‘t like. Here we meet five “digital scavengers” among thousands of people outsourced from Silicon Valley whose job is to delete “inappropriate” content of the net. In a parallel struggle, we meet people around the globe whose lives are dramatically affected by online censorship. A typical “cleaner” must observe and rate thousands of often deeply disturbing images and videos every day, leading to lasting psychological impacts.
Yet underneath their work lie profound questions around what makes an image art or propaganda and what defines journalism. Where exactly is the point of balance for social media to be neither an unlegislated space nor a forum rife with censorship? THE CLEANERS struggles to come to terms with this new and disconcerting paradigm. Evolving from a shared social vision of a global village to a web of fake news and radicalization, the film charts the rise and fall of social media’s utopian ideology.
Directors: Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck
Producers: Georg Tschurtschenthaler, Christian Beetz
Co-Producers: Fernando Dias, Mauricio Dias, Reinhardt Beetz, Andrea Romeo
Executive Producers: Christopher Clements, Julie Goldman, Philippa Kowarsky
Co-Executive Producers: Carolyn Hepburn, Neil Tabatzink, Robin Smith
Directors of Photography: Axel Schneppat, Max Preiss
Sound: Karsten Höfer
Editors: Philipp Gromov, Hansjörg Weißbrich, Markus CM Schmidt
Music: John Gürtler, Jan Miserre, Lars Voges
Production Companies: gebrueder beetz filmproduktion, Grifa Filmes, Motto Pictures
In Co-Production with: Grifa Filmes, WDR, NDR, rbb, VPRO, Play TV, I Wonder Pictures
In Association with: ARTE, NHK, BBC, GEO Television, SVT, RTS, ORF, DR, RSI, Yes Docu, YLE, VGTV, RTV, LRT, ProPublica
Supported by: Creative Europe - Media Program of the European Union, Ancine, FSA, BRDE, Film - and Medienstiftung NRW, Blue Ice Docs
DIRECTOR - HANS BLOCK
Hans Block (1985) is a German theater director, filmmaker and musician. He studied music (drums) at
the University of Arts in Berlin and theater directing at Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts in Berlin.
In 2014, Block became resident director and member of the Artistic Direction of the Box at Schauspiel
Frankfurt. Productions there included “Mysterien – Unberechenbar werden” by Knut Hamsun, “Aufzeichnungen aus dem Kellerloch” by Fjodor Dostojewski and “Flankufuroto” by Bonn Park. In 2014, he was invited to the festival “Radikal Jung“ at the Münchner Volks theater with his production “Austrian Psycho,” which was awarded the Best Production Prize of the festival. His radio drama production “Don Don Don Quijote Attackéee“ was awarded as best production of Prix Marulić 2015. Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck work collaboratively under the label “Laokoon” named after the legendary Trojan seer who revealed the Trojan Horse as a dangerous fraud. In their works Riesewieck and Block aim to reveal the Trojan horses of our time. Their projects which they develop in various media forms start with investigations and end up as striking, complex narrations.
DIRECTOR - MORITZ RIESEWIECK
Moritz Riesewieck (1985) is a German essay author,scriptwriter, theater- and film director. He studiedtheater directing at Ernst Busch Academy of DramaticArts in Berlin. Before he studied some semesters ofEconomics as a fellow of the German AcademicScholarship Foundation and worked as assistantdirector at Schaubuehne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin.In 2014 he staged the piece “Woyzeck” by GeorgBuechner in Mexico City. His Spanish / Germangraduation production was invited to renownedHeidelberg Play Market. In 2016 Moritz Riesewieckwas granted the state of Berlin’s Elsa NeumannScholarship for his innovative theater works whichwere shown at festivals in Berlin and Hamburg andmost recently at Theater Dortmund. In the sameyear Riesewieck presented a lecture performanceabout digital cleansing at re:publica Berlin and atBerliner Theatertreffen. His essay “Digital Dirt Work”was published by German publishing house dtv inSeptember 2017.
SUNDANCE 2018〡HOT DOCS 2018〡IFF ROTTERDAM 2018〡CPH:DOX 2018〡FIFDH GENEVA 2018〡DOCVILLE 2018〡ONE WORLD 2018〡SAN FRANCISCO IFF 2018〡FULL FRAME 2018〡JEONJU 2018〡SHEFFIELD DOC FEST 2018〡SYDNEY FILM FESTIVAL 2018〡JERUSALEM FILM FESTIVAL 2018〡DOCS BARCELONA 2018〡ZURICH FILM FESTIVAL 2018〡BERGEN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2018〡RIO DE JANEIRO 2018〡DOK FEST MUNICH 2018
“A neon-lit documentary shot like a noir thriller.”
“The film is packed with pressing questions faced by internet giants, governments, and you and me.”
“Smart, stylish doc exposes must-discuss issues regarding the companies who dominate the Internet.”
- The Hollywood Reporter
“The Cleaners is a riveting documentary about how social media might be ruining the world. A movie of the moment.”
- The Verge
"On the basis of The Cleaners, it feels as if a Frankenstein’s monster has been created and is now out of control.“
- Screen International