On October 9th, Academy Award-nominated director, Leslie Iwerks, will release her new short documentary, Selling Lies. The film, which was an Official Selection at 11 film festivals, looks at 2016’s rampant spread of fake news through social media and the people of Macedonia who produced the content.
The movie is a shocking yet sobering experience. It’s angering to know that people from other countries were directly manipulating America’s election in order to make a profit. However, the film also digs into other aspects that we as Americans need to think about, such as the fact that much of the “information” used to form the basis of these fake news stories actually originated in America from alt-right media. We also had massive tech companies not doing anything to slow or stop the spread of fake stories. And lastly, we as the American people had fundamentally shifted the way we receive news (many people now get their news from social media, rather than through verified news outlets.)
The movie delves into all these aspects of the story and leaves the viewer to decide who is truly at fault. Can America really blame a 20-year-old in Macedonia who was trying to make a profit? Can America really blame others for the fact that we didn’t care to check sources? That we didn’t care to ask for more information? These are interesting questions that we as a country need to be asking ourselves.
The film is also extremely timely and important. With the upcoming 2020 election, it’s more important now than ever that Americans realize how rampant fake news is in our country, and the consequences it has. The winning party of November’s election will have a direct and profound impact on the lives of the LGBTQ community, racial minorities, young people entering the job market, international visitors, the press, the pandemic, and the economy. It’s more important now than ever to understand the true scope and severity of the misinformation crisis. With a running time of about 30 minutes, Selling Lies is an excellent primer into an issue that many of us have heard about, but that very few of us actually know anything about.
Selling Lies will premiere on ShortsTV on October 9th and will also be available for streaming on Amazon, Google Play, Vimeo on Demand, and iTunes.