Caught in the Web achieves a hat-trick of #1s

06 September 2017

Professor Annie Goldson's Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web has rocketed up all the best documentary lists on iTunes internationally and is featuring well in the all genres stakes. The documentary was released a week ago after enjoying a successful international film festival run.

Annie commented it is encouraging to see so many New Zealand documentaries in the international top ten. She says that although using (mixed) sports metaphors is not her strong point, she can't resist:

Last week, Dotcom successfully tackled Richie McCaw (Chasing Great) and overtook McLaren, crossing the finish line in a hat-trick that saw Caught in the Web at #1 in iTunes documentary charts – in the United States, Canada and Germany, #2 in NZ and #5 in the UK.

The film premiered at SXSW in Austin,Texas last March showing at a dozen festivals, most recently at the Melbourne International Film Festival. The reviews, from Variety, through the Rolling Stone and Ars Technica, to Der Spiegel, have been excellent with many commenting on how balanced the film is in addressing controversial issues – and its polarising central character.

Despite Caught in the Web being available online, the film is still receiving festival invitations. The filmmakers decided to release the film as widely and quickly as possible digitally around the globe, foregoing a theatrical release. If the film is available legally in most countries at an acceptable price, the theory is that typical levels of infringement drop.

Annie says that part of her is sad not seeing Caught in the Web in a theatrical run as it works well on the big screen. However, the film is continuing to show at festival screenings where she and others are invited along to debate some of the bigger issues that the film addresses.

"These issues are critical to most of us in the digital age," she explains. "The shifts in how we access entertainment, education and knowledge; how we protect ourselves against invasions of our privacy; and what 'sovereignty' means in a globalized world - these are some of the headier themes we try to address."

Along with online content developers Dotdot, and with the support of the University of Auckland, Annie has produced a rich online resource, a repository of free educational materials including mini-documentaries, out-takes, and edited transcripts of interviews from many of the subjects she interviewed. These include academics, journalists, lawyers and musicians including Glenn Greenwald, Professors Laurence Lessig, Siva Vaidanayathan, Aram Sinnreich and Gabriella Coleman, and founder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales. Moby, the singer and DJ, also makes a brief appearance, as does Smudo, a German super-star.

Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web was funded by the New Zealand Film Commission with the support of the University of Auckland Faculty of Arts Research Committee. It was produced by Alex Behse from Decoding Pictures.