The Cleaners


Scotiabank Theatre 3 Wed, May 2, 2018 2:45 PM
Revue Cinema Fri, May 4, 2018 9:00 PM
Film Info
Country Listing:Germany
Premiere Status:Canadian Premiere
Festival Info
Festival Year:2018
Accessibility:Partial Subtitles
Program Category:Special Presentations
Film Subjects:Cyberculture
Science & Technology
Cast/Crew Info
Director(s):Hans Block
Moritz Riesewieck
Producer(s):Christian Beetz
Georg Tschurtschenthaler
Executive Producer(s):Christopher Clements
Julie Goldman
Philippa Kowarsky
Co-Producer(s):Fernando Dias
Mauricio Dias
Reinhardt Beetz
Andrea Romeo
Editor(s):Philipp Gromov
Markus CM Schmidt
Hansjörg Weißbrich
Cinematography:Max Preiss
Axel Schneppat
Composer:John Gürtler
Jan Miserre
Lars Voges
Sound:Karsten Höfer


Also screening in the Big Ideas Series presented by Scotia Wealth Management

The images and content on social media are censored based on more relative decisions than one may think. Who is behind what is considered “inappropriate”? Silicon Valley outsources hundreds of anonymous “digital janitors” in Manila who screen tens of thousands of posts while using their often personal filters to determine what we can and cannot see. In dark rooms and behind computer monitors, their fingers hover over the delete button as they ponder what is more offensive—a naked painting of President Trump, or a photo of a Libyan refugee child who drowned crossing the Mediterranean? From war zone photography to pornography, these ghostly content controllers make decisions about what could have societal psychological impacts, what could cause political destabilization and what could incite terrorism. An eerie story of control and censorship, this powerful film explores the lives of the cleaners and the individuals and organizations who have been negatively impacted by their questionable decisions to delete. Heather Haynes

Also screening at Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema starting June 22. Get tickets!

Additional Information

Toronto Star - 3.5 Stars, "Equal parts fascinating and frightening."

Scene Creek - 4.5 Stars, "Masterfully executed."

Toronto Life - "Intimate and in-depth, Hot Docs' Big Ideas Series delivers enriches thinking about people trying to change the world for the better."

The Globe and Mail - "The Cleaners shines light on the Filipino workers who sift through Facebook’s digital sewage."

Sidewalk Hustle - "The best films to catch at Hot Docs 2018."

National Post - "From Won’t You Be My Neighbor? to Love, Gilda, the top 10 to watch at this year's Hot Docs">

Screen Anarchy - "Hot Docs 2018 Curtain Raiser: From M.I.A. To MeToo

Mr Will Wong - #HOTDOCS: 2018 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival Preview."

The Film Corner with Greg Klymkiw - 5 stars, "A scary portrait of content moderators in the world of social media."