The internet kills in Slovakian triptych Who’s Next?
by Martin Kudláč
- The upcoming Slovakian omnibus film by Miro Drobný serves as a warning against the perils of the online world, such as cyberbullying, sextortion and “killfies”
After the Czech psychosocial experiment and documentary about online predators Caught in the Net by Barbora Chalupová and Vít Klusák, Slovakian filmmaker Miro Drobný has now finished his project Who’s Next? [+see also:
interview: Miro Drobný
film profile], which touches on a similar topic. Drobný is behind a number of educational and informative projects, such as the animated series OVCE.sk (screened in over 26 countries), which teaches children and parents alike about the perils of the online world, as well as a documentary biopic about the titular Slovakian rapper Rytmus: The Street Dream [+see also:
film profile], which enjoyed a strong opening in 2015. For his omnibus docudrama Who’s Next?, Drobný is marrying the preventative and educational dimension of his previous projects with a wider audience appeal, with a principal target demographic of youths and young adults (12-25 years old).
Who’s Next? consists of three stories, each addressing a different online phenomenon: cyberbullying, “killfies” (a selfie that puts one’s life at risk) and sextortion. According to Drobný, who wrote, produced and directed all three parts, each of the stories is based on true events from Slovakia, Canada and Russia, respectively. The cyberbullying segment follows a young Slovakian rapper, Aless, as she recounts her experience of being bullied online, which eventually led to a suicide attempt. The killfie section is set amidst the subculture of Russian rooftoppers, and stars actual rooftoppers Vitaliy Raskalov, Vadim Makhorov and Angela Nikolau. The last story, about sexual extortion, is inspired by the tragic case of 15-year-old Amanda Todd from Canada. The individual stories were shot in Slovakia, the UK, China, South Korea, Hong Kong, France, Ukraine and the Czech Republic, while American actors Brian Caspe and Anita Sonnberger star alongside the Slovakian cast.
Drobný revealed that the form of Who’s Next? is similar to Petr Zelenka’s Year of the Devil, as it is a fiction and paradocumentary hybrid, a decision that should enhance its authenticity (the movie is also in several languages for this very reason); however, he has chosen to render each story in a different genre – namely, a paradocumentary film essay, an adventure-drama and a thriller. In the director’s words, he narrates the stories in the language of the young generation. The stories themselves have already travelled intensively around the international festival circuit, including stops at the Cinema Perpetuum Mobile ISFF, Romania’s Short to the Point, the Mecal Pro Barcelona International Short Film Festival, the Glasgow Short Film Festival, the Chambal International Film Festival, the Oaxaca Film Fest and the Aubagne Film Festival, among others, even netting a couple of awards along the way.
Who’s Next? is being produced by eSlovensko and Europsky Institut, both of which are managed by writer-director-producer Miro Drobný. The Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic, the Ministry of Justice of the Slovak Republic and Connecting Europe Facility supported the project. The film does not yet have a sales agent attached, but Bontonfilm is handling the domestic distribution and will release the movie on 22 August.
You can watch the trailer for Who’s Next? below:
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