You can’t just imagine it: The plan for a documentary film on the internet

Grace Petsonk and Lindsay Deconcini are New York-based writer-filmmakers working on a project that falls somewhere between a documentary and a short film – intended for a mass audience, and aimed to ignite a debate about powerful tech, data use and our democracy.

I imagine the film, You can’t just imagine it, will be partly about being someone’s daughter or sister, and partly about being a tech worker or citizen of the internet generation. The aims of the film are not to criticise anyone and certainly not to replace stories about social media and online communities. It is about the desire for larger, more meaningful stories on modern life.

The project is being funded by two Indiegogo crowdfunders. The funding is meant to cover the production of the film. Since June 2017, the project has raised over $75,000. The plan is to finish the film, publish it online and then edit for a public screening.

The couple plan to create a documentary that explores complex issues around technology, its effects on our culture and society, the way that technology allows for safer online networks, and a long-term future beyond the “big tech” that so many of us have come to know.

In addition to Grace and Lindsay, the film will feature journalists, filmmakers, political activists, government officials, legislators, policy experts, students, and other collaborators.

In this community, people discuss how social media and online communities can benefit democracy and lead to meaningful citizenship. They argue that, for better or worse, the internet and social media are the political platforms of the modern era. Yet in the run-up to the 2016 election, some of these very platforms helped give rise to a political movement that threatened to redraw the lines of power in our democracy. As much as anything, the film focuses on the potential for the internet to have a transformative impact on our life, through shared work, or support from others. It examines where we are now and where we want to go.

It is the way that the technology industry evolves into its collective future that we want to talk about.

Imagine not living in a world in which Facebook, Twitter, Google and other major tech companies control the flow of news and information, which shapes the politics of how we understand our own experience of the world, and shape the very physical spaces that we inhabit. It is the way that the technology industry evolves into its collective future that we want to talk about.

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