Annie Goldson’s Film Unravels Dotcom Drama
Kim Dotcom’s personal story is Shakespearean in its ups and downs, says New Zealander Annie Goldson, the director behind a documentary that has just had its premiere in the United States.
When flamboyant internet entrepreneur Dotcom launched his movie streaming website Megaupload in Hong Kong a decade ago, he had no idea his life would soon become as dramatic as the films he’s accused of pirating.
Dotcom’s life was once a whirlwind of flashy parties with scantily clad models and helicopter rides, but the German millionaire’s life took a turn for the worse after a 2012 dawn raid on his New Zealand mansion, which kicked off a five-year legal battle with US authorities.
Worthy of a movie? Yes. Kim Dotcom: Caught in the Web, has premiered at the South by Southwest (SXSW) arts festival in Austin, Texas – and reviews have been positive.
The film looks at the former hacker’s life up to the end of 2015, including his seven-year stint in Hong Kong, where he started up his ill-fated file-sharing site Megaupload in 2005.
“I thought he [Dotcom] was a fascinating character and, in addition, he and his case raised a lot of important questions about our ‘online lives’,” Goldson says. “I was riveted already.”
“There were heaps of challenges [making the film],” she says. “Dealing with an ongoing legal case brings up issues around sub judice and people were sensitive and anxious of course, given the heat and light around the Megaupload case, the copyright wars, the illegal spying, the various errors made in policing and the raid and so forth.
“People do have strong stands one way or the other, but the legal issues are complex and my position is that his innocence or guilt is really for a court, not me to decide. The [broader] issues his case raises exceed him as a man. So my hope is that audiences will engage with these broader issues.”
Goldson’s 2011 film Brother Number One won her an Aotearoa Film and Televison Award for best documentary director.
She earned a New Zealand Order of Merit in 2007, for services to film.
Original article by Julia Hollingsworth, South China Morning Post, March 18, 2017.