SO UNREAL – Review by Nadine Whitney

In essence all gods are created by humanity as a way to explain the unknown or as a system of moral and ethical guidelines. That isn’t to say that spirituality is a falsehood, but it is perpetuated by earthly entities. In the digital age humanity created a new god – a cyber god of unlimited potential, and one that carried with it the capacity to gain sentience and turn on its maker. Amanda Kramer’s documentary So Unreal written in conjunction with Britt Brown and narrated by actor and musician Debbie Harry traces how cinema near the end of the millennia reacted to the anxiety of emerging technology and how films that might have been seen as time-capsule curiosities became remarkably prescient.

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Amanda Kramer and Britt Brown on SO UNREAL – Nadine Whitney interviews

Amanda Kramer and Britt Brown discuss the lure and fear of the early internet in So Unreal. Amanda Kramer is best known as a director of independent fiction films. Delighting and confounding audiences with such titles as Ladyworld, Give Me Pity!, and Please Baby Please. In a script written in conjunction with Britt Brown, Kramer delivers a stunning visual essay documentary So Unreal about “cyber cinema.” Nadine Whitney spoke to Kramer and Brown about their work that debuted at Fantastic Fest 2023.>

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A.RTIFICIAL I.MMORTALITY – Review by Liz Braun

A.rtificial I.mmortality is an intriguing documentary from Ann Shin about the pursuit of everlasting life. What used to be the purview of religion is increasingly being handed off to the tech world in the 21st century. Can we live forever?

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK November 13, 2020: CODED BIAS

Designed largely by white men, it turns out that a lot of facial-recognition programs are best at recognizing…white men. So when those technologies are used to scan the faces of women and people of color, they’re far more likely to make incorrect associations and conclusions. Inconvenient if you want to use your face to open a biometric lock; potentially devastating if a database suggests you’re a terrorist.

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CODED BIAS – Review by Leslie Combemale

Director Shalini Kantayya brings us Coded Bias, a documentary that rightly feeds fears on a subject many have blithely ignored, the increasing control technology is having over the world, and in every aspect of life. Worse, it is pervasively anchored in bias, expanding disparity in wealth, education, health, safety, and so much more. The film is an eye-opening examination of just how little the public is aware of how and when they are being watched, categorized, pigeonholed, and discarded, often because of their gender, race, or background, more often than not erroneously.

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CODED BIAS – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

In Coded Bias, the charismatic Joy Buolamwini, a student at MIT, calls out the lack of legislation and oversight over the use of such invasive facial recognition and other algorithmic tools and how governments use such tech to unfairly judge people. For instance, Amazon employed an algorithm to select a first cut of job applicants, only to find it picked only white males. That reflects the culture of Silicon Valley, which is controlled by primarily white males.

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CODED BIAS – Review by Jennifer Merin

We might all be in need of and very keen on watching escapist comedies during the ongoing pandemic social restrictions, but this compelling documentary is an important and timely film. Knowledge is power, and Coded Bias delivers knowledge that can help us to resist/reverse the further deterioration of democracy and of human civilization as we know it.

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