Archives / 2008 Sundance Film Festival

Secrecy

Director: Peter Galison, Robb Moss

Institute History

Description

The “classification universe” is invisible to most of us, yet the production of governmental classified secret documents involves millions of people. And government secrecy is growing, vastly outpacing the circulation of open information. The statistics, as much as can be gathered, are staggering. In a single recent year, the United States government classified about five times the number of pages added to the Library of Congress; the cost is about eight billion dollars a year—just to keep secrets secret.

Now, 70 years after the builders of the bomb created a national information security system and just a few years after 9/11, a government secrecy crisis is looming. The combination of a declared war on terrorism and the curtailment of civil liberties sets the stage to ask some critical questions. When does security erode, rather than enhance, democracy? Can burying too much information actually undermine national security?

Secrecy, the stylistically elegant and provocative new film by Robb Moss and Peter Galison, explores the hidden world of national security policy by examining the many implications of secrecy, both for government and individuals. Combining animation, installations, a mesmerizing score, and riveting interviews, the film takes us inside the inverted world of government secrecy as we share the experiences of lawyers, CIA analysts, and the ordinary people for whom secrecy becomes a matter of life and death.

— Cara Mertes

Screening Details

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