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The Killing of a Journalist film image, director Matt Sarnecki

The Killing of a Journalist

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Matt Sarnecki’s documentary begins with the murder of a crusading Slovak reporter and takes us through the extraordinary aftermath. Ján Kuciak was a dogged investigative scribe, digging up dirt on his country’s most prominent gangsters, as well as their partners in the “legitimate” realms of business and politics. The 2018 assassination of Kuciak and his fiancée was surely intended as a warning to Slovakia’s media establishment, but in fact it had the opposite effect: cross-publication cooperation in an all-out effort to expose the guilty parties.

The story of that endeavour is rich indeed: among its lurid ingredients are hidden thumb drives, widespread sexual blackmail, massive corruption, and the coordination of homicide via emoji-laced text messages. As it moves from Kuciak’s murder through the ensuing revelations and their seismic political impact, Sarnecki’s work holds the fascination of a bonafide page-turner.

[A] riveting true crime tale. As an exposé, it’s explosive. As journalism, it’s watertight.”—Pat Mullen, POV Magazine


This film is also available on VIFF Connect


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In Slovak and English with English subtitles

Film Contact
100 min
Documentary Human Rights & Social Justice

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Thursday October 06

1:00 pm
Closed Captioning - limited avail Descriptive Video - limited avail Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Vancity Theatre
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Saturday October 08

6:45 pm
Closed Captioning - limited avail Subtitles
International Village 10
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Matt Sarnecki headshot, The Killing of a Journalist director

Matt Sarnecki

Matt Sarnecki is a journalist, producer, and film director at the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project. His documentary Killing Pavel (2017), about the murder of investigative journalist Pavel Sheremet, won the Investigative Reporters and Editors Medal in 2017 and the 2018 Documentari, Inchieste, Giornalismi Award in the Investigative Medium category. He spent several years working in television and documentary in New York and has produced and directed series for VICE and Sarnecki has a Master’s degree in Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley, and has lived in Bucharest, Romania since 2013.