For those under 30, TikTok is the most popular platform for creating personalized content. Favored TikTok “influencers” make more money than YouTube stars. As with most online social networks, there is a darker mechanism behind the cute videos, and this documentary deftly explores the underbelly of the social media sensation. Director Shalini Kantayya (Coded Bias, Doc Stories 2020) presents a wonderfully balanced and holistic view of TikTok, from content creators censored by the app when they discuss potentially incendiary topics to journalists who have investigated the Chinese parent company’s controversial data-mining techniques to creators like Spencer X, a beatboxer who finds community, purpose, and a career – for now – in his exceedingly popular videos.
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Documentarian and activist Shalini Kantayya’s first film, Catching the Sun (2015), won the Best Feature Award at the San Francisco Green Festival. She subsequently made Coded Bias (Doc Stories 2020), and television episodes “Power to the People” (2017), for National Geographic’s Breakthrough, and “Search Engine Breakdown” (2021), for PBS’s long-running series Nova. She is a TED Fellow, a Sundance Fellow, and a Fulbright Scholar. In 2007, she placed in the Top 10 (out of 20,000 competitors) on the Steven Spielberg-produced filmmaking competition reality series On the Lot.
Language English, Chinese
Director Shalini Kantayya
Executive Producer Ross Girard, Rebecca Evans, Travis Collins, Randall Lane, Tim Lee, Michael Cho, Mimi Rode, Robert Kapp, William Rosenfeld
Producer Ross M. Dinerstein, Danni Mynard, Shalini Kantayya
Editor Seth Anderson
Cinematographer Steve Acevedo
Print Source Campfire Studiosross@campfire.us
Closed Captions Closed captions are available for this screening. Please let us know if you would like a closed-captioning device when purchasing your ticket or by emailing ADA@SFFilm.org
Audio Description Audio description is not available for this screening.
American Sign Language (ASL) Interpretation American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation will be provided at this event. Please let us know if you would like to reserve a seat with optimal visibility when purchasing your ticket or by emailing ADA@sffilm.org.