Still having trouble understanding the whole Trump phenomenon? Here’s a “crash course” into what went on in the 2016 US Presidential election and its bizarre result.
HBO’s latest documentary from the Emmy & Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney, Agents of Chaos, takes the much-needed path of truth-finding into the glaring glitch that was the 2016 US Presidential elections.
1. When is it Out?
The two-part documentary “Agents of Chaos” premieres on HBO Wednesday, September 23. The second part of the documentary will premiere on September 24.
2. What’s it About?
The two-part HBO documentary film focusses on Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, basing itself on revelations confirmed by the recent Senate Intelligence Committee report.
The documentary comes as an urgent warning to Americans in the lead-up to the 2020 election later this year.
For the many viewers who know “Russian interference” as a frustrating and ever-elusive phenomenon requiring particular expertise, Agents of Chaos offers a four-hour crash course of sorts, that attempts to see Russian cyber-security, America’s vulnerabilities, and clearly missed opportunities.
Agents of Chaos comes equipped with interviews from lead Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe and former CIA director John Brennan, to help explain how the Russians worked to weaken democratic institutions and create chaos through social media, first in Ukraine and then in America.
Apparently, the “Russian Job” in Ukraine was already a thing of concern for the FBI long before it began investigating Trump Office for collusion in 2016.
But more than anything else, this documentary will be yet another resource for the digital illiterates, that now are unfortunately the majority, to learn more about how technology has changed our worlds for better or worse.
3. The Digital Dilemma
Going beyond the usual trope of summing up the disaster that was the 2016 elections as some Russian conspiracy, the documentary refocuses the lens back to America and its failing institutions instead.
Technology is the future and understanding how the digital world lives and breathes is as important today as learning to feed and shelter ourselves.
The documentary is also a reminder of how costly digital unpreparedness could be, even in the nearest future. How does one ask and debate for our basic human and democratic rights when the language itself has changed and we simply aren’t fluent enough with it.
“In 2016, our institutions – the press, a sense of the rule of law, and a bifurcated, belief-based, tribal political system – had become so dysfunctional that were ripe for the picking,”Alex Gibney
Even the connections between Trump and Putin explored in the series speak of a;
“seduction between two like-minded people,” said Gibney, rather than the hackneyed word “collusion.”
Trump initially was after a Moscow tower deal while for Putin and the Russian political system, a destabilized America is a less powerful one.
“It’s all about greed, and avarice, and corruption,”
“The agents of chaos in both countries had common interests,”Alex Gibney
4. Minds behind Agents of Chaos
Director Alex Gibney was named “the most important documentarian of our time” by Esquire Magazine for his penetrating, gripping, and deeply insightful documentaries.
Besides an Academy Award, multiple Emmy Awards, a Grammy Award, several Peabody Awards among others, Alex has been honored with the International Documentary Association’s (IDA) Career Achievement Award.
Some of Gibney’s notable films include the triple Emmy Award-winning Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, the most-watched non-music HBO documentary; the Academy Award-winning Taxi to The Dark Side, the Oscar-nominated Enron The Smartest Guys in the Room, the multiple Emmy Award-winning Mea Maxima Culpa; and an Emmy award for Outstanding Investigative Documentary; Sinatra: All or Nothing at All, a two-part special on legendary entertainer Frank Sinatra.
His other upcoming work includes Totally Under Control, a searing look at the administration’s failure to contain the COVID 19 pandemic releasing in October.
Another brilliant mind behind this rather crucial piece of storytelling is Camille François who works on cyber conflict and digital rights online.
As the Chief Innovation Officer at Graphika, she leads the company’s work to detect and mitigate disinformation, media manipulation and harassment.
François has advised governments and parliamentary committees in both America and Europe on policy issues related to cybersecurity and digital rights.