Variety Review of ‘What Lies Upstream’ by Joe Leydon

Director Cullen Hoback on a boat ride while shooting the film

As up-to-date as its display of a post-election tweet by Donald Trump — who looms conspicuously large during the film’s opening and closing minutes — “What Lies Upstream” is a quietly devastating documentary that’s all the more attention-grabbing for being such a scrupulously restrained and slickly polished piece of work. Directed by Cullen Hoback, whose equally compelling “Terms and Conditions May Apply” (2013) cogently addressed privacy concerns in the digital age, the film percolates with a nonpartisan paranoia regarding state and federal regulatory agencies while linking the contamination of drinking water in West Virginia to what Hoback perceives as a perfect storm of industry maleficence, government negligence, and bureaucratic malpractice. Continue Reading

The Daily Beast: The Perils of an AT&T-Time Warner Merger

AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Cullen Hoback’s interview to The Daily Beast on the AT&T/Time Warner merger:
Meanwhile, filmmaker Cullen Hoback—whose 2013 documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply revealed how corporate monoliths like AT&T are collecting so much personal data on Americans that they’re essentially destroying any concept of privacy—predicted that CNN won’t escape the merger’s inevitable fallout. Continue Reading

The Guardian: ‘How do you get politicians to care about privacy?’ by Cullen Hoback

Beneath the US Capitol building there is one of the swankiest theatres in which I’ve screened my film, Terms and Conditions May Apply, to date.

The space is usually reserved for tours during the daytime, but at night if you have the magic key – a Congressman- movie magic can happen for Capitol Hill’s elite.

Our magic key was Congressman Justin Amash, a second-term representative from Michigan who made a splash this summer with his stance on government surveillance. He introduced a narrowly defeated amendment (205-217) that would have defunded the mass data collection that Section 215 of the FISA Amendments authorises. It has since become known as the Amash Amendment, and it was the first beacon of hope that Washington might reform the Patriot Act. Continue Reading