State of Control (2016) 1h 30min · Documentary · 1 January 2016
Two American filmmakers travel undercover in China and Tibet during one of the most precarious times in the country's recent history. Their journey begins in hot-bed areas of Tibetan activism in India and Nepal, before continuing into the most closed off regions of Tibet, during the full scale media blackout that began in 2008 and continues to this day. Their goal is to meet with leading Tibetan activists who are risking their lives to peacefully protest against oppression by the Chinese government's police state in a region kept "in the dark". Traveling undercover, a dangerous cat-and-mouse game unfolds as secret police maintain 24 hour surveillance of the filmmakers. Unable to document their intended subjects, they are forced to turn the cameras on themselves as they become the targets. All their moves are followed, leading to hotel break-ins, equipment theft, and cyber-hacking and spying - ultimately putting the filmmakers' very lives in danger. Forced to flee and return to the US, the filmmakers continue to roll-camera as they work with leading cyber security experts to confirm that multiple members of their production team were victims of cyber attacks proved to have originated in China. They realize they are not the only targets but are one small piece of the currently unfolding reality of global cyber-crime activity where seemingly nobody - individual activists, corporate giants or even governments - is immune. Google, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and almost one-fifth of the Fortune 100 are facing cyber assaults generated from within China...and at an unprecedented pace. Security breaches have reached as high up as the White House. Where does this leave the Tibetan resistance efforts? Their ongoing struggle for basic human rights and their cultural existence is no match for this high-tech war that they lack the technology and resources to fight. Desperate and frustrated, as of February 2013 over 100 Tibetans have turned to self- immolations in the hope the distressing images will be shared widely enough though social media and other technologies to catch the world's attention - but China's bans and tightening restrictions on information flowing into and out of Tibet make even these self-sacrifices little known to the outside world. Searching for a way to turn the tide, the filmmakers join forces with the activists they met on their journey for a bold media event in middle of Times Square, utilizing technology to help the voice of the Tibetans reach the world stage. - Written by Anonymous
Director(s): Christian Johnston, Darren Mann
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