As Net Neutrality Hangs in the Balance: Nine Short Films About the Internet

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On July 29, 2017 we worked with Mozilla to bring a program of thought-provoking short films about the internet to the Rooftop Summer Series. As we consider the end of FCC rules that protect net neutrality, we thought these words ring truer than ever, “The Internet is the most fantastically fun, awe-inspiring place we’ve ever built together.. It was built by many hands, with the intention that everyone is welcome – and free. Right now, we’re at a tipping point. Big corporations want to privatize our largest public resource. Fake news and filter bubbles are making it harder for us to find our way. Online bullies are silencing inspired voices. And our desire to explore is hampered by threats to our safety and privacy.”

As the FCC revisits these net neutrality rules, we ask that you revisit the short films from that evening to see what’s helping and what’s hurting the Web. This blog post is adapted from Mozilla’s blog post on the event. That post can be read here.

1) HITRECORD x Firefox: Too Much Information
Directed by Joseph Gordon Levitt & hitRECord (2017, 7 min.)

We all have our boundaries. Through personal stories, hitRECord’s community of artists explore where to draw the line for online privacy. Visit the project page to see how the work evolved through hitRECord’s collaborative process.

2) It Should Be Easy
Directed by Ben Meinhardt (2016, 2 min.)

A son takes what should be a simple tech support call from his mother in the middle of his workday.

3) Lovestreams
Directed by Sean Buckelew (2016, 10 min.)

Who are we online? Do these net-cross’d lovers stand a chance?

4) Project X
Directed by Henrik Moltke and Laura Poitras (2016, 11 min.)

A top-secret handbook takes viewers on an undercover journey to Titanpointe, the site of a hidden partnership. Narrated by Rami Malek (aka Mr. Robot) and Michelle Williams, and based on classified NSA documents, Project X reveals the inner workings of a windowless skyscraper in downtown Manhattan. Bonus material: read more about Moltke and Poitras’ collaboration on the film.

5) Hyper-Reality
Directed by Keiichi Matsuda (2016, 6 min.)

Our physical and virtual realities are becoming increasingly intertwined. Technologies such as VR, augmented reality, wearables and the Internet of things are pointing to a world where technology will envelop every aspect of our lives. It will be the glue between every interaction and experience, offering amazing possibilities, while also controlling the way we understand the world. Hyper-Reality attempts to explore this exciting but dangerous trajectory. Bonus material: this film was crowdsourced on Kickstarter.

6) Pizza Surveillance
Directed by Micah Laaker (2004, 2 min.)

We think it’s convenient when the take-out place knows our address from our phone number. But just how much information do we want to share? Bonus material: the ACLU recognized this short for shedding light on the loss of personal private information to corporations.

7) The Price of Certainty
Directed by Daniele Anastasion (2016, 11 min.)

In times of social and political uncertainty, humans seek answers that offer one absolute truth — but at what cost? Famed psychologist Arie Kruglanski explores why we become so polarized. piece.Bonus material: read Anastasion’s article in The New York Times for more background.

8) I Know You From Somewhere
Directed by Andrew Fitzgerald (2017, 15 min.)

A young woman incurs the wrath of the internet after inadvertently becoming a viral sensation.

9) Harvest
Directed by Kevin Byrnes (2017, 12 min.)

Harvest is an eleven minute documentary that follows the daily life of a woman named Jenni, exploring the simple patterns that define her. As we get to know her, we come to understand the extent to which her seemingly ordinary life is of great interest to people she has never met. Learn more at

Click here to learn how to call your members of Congress today and tell them you oppose Chairman Pai’s plans to dismantle net neutrality.