2021 Edition



Section: Long Documentary

Country: South Africa and Canada

Production Year: 2020

Duration: 90 minutes

Director: Richard Poplak

Screenplay: Richard Poplak and Diana Neille

Cinematography: Glauco Bermudez - Mark ? Feargha?l

Editor: Ryan Mullins

Synopsis: Influence is a profile of the morally slippery British reputation manager, Lord Timothy Bell. Born into a modest working class family, Bell climbed his way to the heights of global power, first spinning Margaret Thatcher into the “Iron Lady”, then working for the successors of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The film examines the politicization of modern communication over the last 40 years—the winding journey from advertising to algorithms; television to Twitter. Influence examines how Bell and his associates shaped and co-opted the very institutions on which our governance systems are premised, quietly entrenching one of the most sophisticated—and successful—business ventures of recent times: the weaponization of democracy.