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The YouTube Effect / Backlash film collage

The YouTube Effect

+ Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age

+ Opening Reception

The YouTube Effect Trailer Backlash Trailer

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This double feature includes the films The YouTube Effect and Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age.
After Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age, there will be a joint panel discussion/Q&A where themes common to both films will be discussed.
Your ticket for this double feature includes admission to each film, a keynote address for each film, and the joint panel discussion/Q&A. Your ticket also includes a reception (with one drink ticket), which will be held in the theatre’s lobby, immediately following the joint panel discussion/Q&A.


3:45 pm: The YouTube Effect (99 min.)
Canadian Premiere
Keynote Speaker: Alex Winter, Director, The YouTube Effect
Alex Winter’s newest documentary explores the ascension and potential fall of YouTube, the world’s most popular video-sharing website. Launched in 2005 with a video of a trip to the zoo, YouTube has built itself into an empire worth up to $300 billion dollars. In order to incentivize its creators and keep users engaged, it has created an algorithm that tries to predict what users will be most interested in. The basic idea is simple: make your content just the right way, and it will be promoted to users all over the world. However, the algorithm has created unforeseen privacy and ethical problems that could be the website’s downfall. YouTubers, reporters, and experts alike join Winter in interrogating the effects that such irregulation can result in. With sharp editing and an anxiety-inducing message about the way social media controls our lives, The YouTube Effect is a startling but necessary look at a website that has become so intertwined with our daily lives.


6:25 pm: Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age (80 min.)
Vancouver Premiere
Keynote Speaker: TBD
In fall 2017, the MeToo hashtag shook the planet, sparking an unprecedented wave of sexual assault accusations in the Western world. Now a storm of virulent misogyny rages on, flooding our screens with harassment, defamation, lynching, sextortion, the sharing of intimate photographs, rape and deaths threats. According to the UN, 73% of women are abused online. The feature-length documentary Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age follows four women and one man whose lives have been particularly affected by online violence: Laura Boldrini, the most harassed female politician in Italy; Kiah Morris, an African-American politician in the state of Vermont who resigned following severe harassment and threats from right-wing extremists; Marion Séclin, a French YouTuber who received more than 40,000 sexist messages, including rape and death threats; Laurence Gratton, a young teacher in Quebec who was harassed for more than five years by a former colleague; and Glen Canning, the father of Rehtaeh Parsons, a young girl who took her life after photos of her rape were spread online. What is it like to live with this so-called ’virtual’ violence? That is what this important film attempts to show by closely following the victims in their daily lives. Like in a thriller, we see in real time the waves of hate they are subjected to, their resulting fear, and how they no longer feel safe in public spaces. We see lives marked by a loss of confidence and shame. Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age also shows how each of these women, and this man in the name of his late daughter, are fighting the same battle. They share a common cause: to refuse to be silent.


8:00 pm: Joint Panel Discussion/Q&A following Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age with Alex Winter, Director, The YouTube Effect; Avriel Epps-Darling, PhD Candidate, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Guylaine Maroist, Co-director, Backlash: Misogyny in the Digital Age; Carol Todd, Mother of Amanda Todd, Founder, Amanda Todd Legacy Society
Other Panelists TBD
Moderator TBD


Alex Winter (The YouTube Effect)

Léa Clermont-Dion, Guylaine Maroist (Backlash)

Country of Origin

USA (The YouTube Effect)

Canada (Backlash)




In English and French with English subtitles

305 min

Book Tickets

Wednesday February 22

3:45 pm
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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Executive Producer

Michael Cho, Mimi Rode, Tim Lee, Michael Y. Chow, Kevin Lin, Sue Turley, Ian Orefice, Rebecca Teitel, Mike Beck (The YouTube Effect);


Alex Winter, Gale Anne Hurd, Glen Zipper (The YouTube Effect); Guylaine Maroist, Eric Ruel (Backlash)


Alex Winter (The YouTube Effect); Léa Clermont-Dion, Guylaine Maroist (Backlash)


Peter Nicoll (The YouTube Effect); Steeve Desrosiers, Jean-François Perreault, Louis-Vincent Blaquière, Fabien Côté, Richard Hamel (Backlash)


Weston Cadwell (The YouTube Effect); Jean-François Lord, Eric Ruel (Backlash)

Original Music

Paul Haslinger (The YouTube Effect); Antoine Félix Rochette (Backlash)