NETIZENS—directed by BULLY co-producer/writer Cynthia Lowen—exposes the proliferation of cyber harassment faced by women, spreading from the web to the most intimate corners of their lives. The feature documentary follows women who are targets of harassment, along with lawyers, advocates, policymakers and others, as they confront digital abuse and strive for equality and justice online.

NETIZENS challenges the notion cyber harassment is “only” online, depicting the repercussions on targets’ lives: lost jobs, thwarted educations, damaged reputations, offline harassment and stalking, and countless hours devoted to containing attacks against a backdrop of mounting legal fees and psychological distress.

The internet as the “wild west”—where abuse is the price of admission—is quickly changing. As the web emerges as the most important public space in our communities, and equal access a civil right, a new generation of lawyers, advocates, technologists, policymakers and others are challenging the status quo.

Currently, 38 states plus DC have enacted laws against non-consensual pornography. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and reddit are revising their terms of use to prevent harassment on their platforms. Recently, Google, Bing and Yahoo announced they would de-index explicit images posted without the subject’s consent. Meanwhile, as several high-profile privacy invasion and harassment cases make the headlines, the debate over free speech online has become a critical issue of our time.

NETIZENS bears witness as a courageous wave of individuals transform the web as we know it.

Director's statement from Cynthia Lowen

The internet today is a battleground.

It's also is the biggest public space in our communities, and one in which we all have a stake. NETIZENS is not only a film, but a movement to make the web just and accessible for all. 

Since 2015, I've been filming with women across the United States, who've been the targets of online death and rape threats, privacy violations, stalking, impersonation, non-consensual pornography, and other forms of digital abuse. I've also followed as each woman has confronted cyber harassment in her own way. I've captured these stories with the belief documentary films have the power to transform our communities, and catalyze change.

Expanding on my work co-creating The BULLY Project - making measurable impact in preventing bullying - I'm building a coalition of partners fostering constructive digital citizenship and working to make the web a just, accessible and equitable space for all. NETIZENS will be a hub for tools, resources and community.

As citizens of the internet, we can shift culture and solve big problems when we all come together. I hope you’ll join us!



The Team

Photo by Joseph Michael Lopez

Photo by Joseph Michael Lopez

Director/ Producer Cynthia Lowen is the co-producer and writer of the Emmy-nominated documentary BULLY, following five kids and families through “a year in the life” of America’s bullying crisis, released by The Weinstein Company. Lauded by reviewers, BULLY was nominated for two Emmy awards. The film was awarded a prestigious Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia Award for excellence in journalism, as well as the 2013 Stanley Kramer Award from the Producers Guild of America, among other honors. Drawing on BULLY’s success, the filmmakers created The BULLY Project Social Action Campaign, a collaborative effort in partnership with multiple organizations, foundations, brands and corporate sponsors, sharing a commitment to ending bullying and transforming society.

The film and campaign have garnered support from such prominent voices as Anderson Cooper, Ellen DeGeneres, Kelly Ripa, Meryl Streep, Katie Couric, Justin Bieber, and many others. Featured at several summits on education and school climate, in April of 2012 BULLY was screened at the White House. The impact of this documentary and the associated social action campaign was recently explored in Anderson Cooper’s 1-hour special, The BULLY Effect, premiering on CNN. Through her work on BULLY, Cynthia has lectured extensively on filmmaking, bullying and school climate and culture, addressing the Producer’s Guild of America, the Middle School Presidential Inaugural Conference, Ideafestival, Open Society Foundations, New York Women in Film & Television, Texas Trailblazer Awards, the Tribeca film festival, among others.

Cynthia has also authored several articles and has appeared widely on television shows and radio programs to speak on the subject. Cynthia is also an award-winning poet and winner of the 2012 National Poetry Series for her collection "The Cloud That Contained the Lightning." Using the character of J. Robert Oppenheimer, known as the “father of the atomic bomb,” as a jumping-off point, the collection explores the enduring legacy of nuclear weapons. Of these poems, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Richard Rhodes writes, “No biographer in 600 pages has come closer to understanding him [Oppenheimer]–and the bomb–than does Cynthia Lowen in these subtle, resonant poems.”

Executive Producer Abigail E. Disney is an award-winning filmmaker, philanthropist and the CEO and president of Fork Films. An active supporter of peacebuilding, she is passionate about advancing women's roles in the public sphere. Disney's 20+ films and series focus on social issues, sharing a quality of spotlighting extraordinary people who speak truth to power. Disney's directorial debut, THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, was selected for the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. Disney has also executive produced films on a wide array of social issues, including 1971, FAMILY AFFAIR, CITIZEN KOCH, HOT GIRLS WANTED, THE INVISIBLE WAR (Academy Award Nominee®, Best Documentary Feature), RETURN, and SUN COME UP (Academy Award® Nominee, Best Documentary Short).

Executive Producer Gini Reticker is an Academy Award nominated and Emmy Award winning director and producer with a distinguished career that spans more than 20 years. She recently directed THE TRIALS OF SPRING, which has played at Human Rights festivals around the world and was accompanied by six shorts that launched on The New York Times. Reticker previously won the Tribeca Best Documentary Award for PRAY THE DEVIL BACK TO HELL, the story of Liberian women whose actions helped bring an end to a brutal civil war. She co-produced THE BETRAYAL (NERAHKOON) ¬ nominated for both an Academy Award and an Independent Spirit Award and served as executive producer on THE ARMOR OF LIGHT, 1971, LIVE NUDE GIRLS UNITE, CAMERAPERSON, ALIAS RUBY BLADE, CITIZEN KOCH, HOT GIRLS WANTED and SHE'S BEAUTIFUL WHEN SHE'S ANGRY.

Executive Producer Barbara Dobkin is a leader in the social justice arena with a focus on the advancement of women. She is a supporter of diverse film and social change organizations including Chicken & Egg Pictures, and is a founder of Advancing Women Professionals and the Jewish Community and served on the boards of The Women’s Funding Network, The White House Project, the Women Donors Network and Lilith Magazine. Barbara is executive producer to numerous award-winning documentaries including ANITA: SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER, BUDRUS, HOT GIRLS WANTED, THE HUNTING GROUND, and others. A frequent speaker on women’s philanthropy and leadership, Dobkin has been recognized by several organizations including the New York Women’s Foundation, the Jewish Funders Network and the Council on Foundations for her innovative philanthropic work.

Cinematographer Cailin Yatsko is a New York City-based cinematographer and co-founder of Bicephaly Pictures. Cailin has shot over 100 pieces of digital content for a variety of brands including Bloomingdale's, Artsy, Gagosian, MoMA, and Paperless Post. She conceptualized and shot four web series for James Franco TV, Glamour, and Dailymotion.

Cinematographer Rachel Lears’ most recent feature documentary, THE HAND THAT FEEDS, won awards and recognition at Full Frame, DOC NYC, AFI Docs, Chicago Latino, and numerous other festivals on the 2014-15 circuit. It was supported by Sundance Documentary Film Program, the Ford Foundation, Latino Public Broadcasting, Chicken & Egg Pictures, New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Bertha BRITDOC Connect Fund, and the Cinereach Project at Sundance Institute.

Composer Nora Kroll-Rosenbaum has collaborated with filmmakers and musicians on scores that include Nikole Beckwith’s STOCKHOLM, PENNSYLVANIA (Sundance), Deepti Kakkar and Fahad Mustafa’s POWERLESS / KATIYABAAZ (Berlinale, Tribeca), Brittany Huckabee’s AFTER FIRE (DOC NYC), Michael Urie’s WHAT’S YOUR EMERGENCY, and Thabo Wolfaardt’s JOBURG (Telluride). She frequently works with her spouse, composer Laura Karpman, co-scoring Nancy Kates’ REGARDING SUSAN SONTAG (HBO, Tribeca), Amit Madheshiya and Shirley Abraham’s THE CINEMA TRAVELERS (Cannes), Jeff Kaufman’s THE STATE OF MARRIAGE, and Robin Reynold’s CODE, as well as engineering Karpman’s scores for UNDERGROUND, THE BEGUILED, PARIS CAN WAIT, and STEP. Kroll-Rosenbaum's commissions include the London Symphony Chorus, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music and fellowships from the Sundance Composers Feature and Doc Labs.

Editor Emily Williams' work has been show extensively on HBO, PBS, and MTV, and has screened at film festivals and museums around the world. She was series editor for each of the three Emmy-nominated season of HBO’s MASTERCLASS, for the Academy Award-winning Simon & Goodman Picture Company, including the Emmy-winning episode “Alan Alda: The Actor Within.” Ms. Williams recently completed the feature length documentary PULITZER AT 100 directed by Academy Award-winning director Kirk Simon. Williams has also worked with Emmy-winning director Ric Burns, editing AMERICAN BALLET THEATRE: A HISTORY for American Masters on PBS, and Peter Kunhardt, editing FREEDOM: A HISTORY OF US for PBS and THE KENNEDY TAPES for Bravo.

Co-Producer Rebecca Stern was the associate producer of “the bomb,” an innovative installation and film experience supported by the MacArthur Foundation, airing on Netflix in the fall of 2017. Her previous work includes the Academy Award-nominated and Emmy-winning documentary CARTEL LAND, which premiered at Sundance, was broadcast on A&E, and released worldwide theatrically as well as on Netflix. She has directed and produced two short films. Her latest, WELL GROOMED, played at the Seattle International Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival, in-flight on Alaska Airlines and is now being adapted into a feature film. She was previously a staff member of Picture Motion, the leading film impact firm, managing film marketing campaigns for acclaimed documentaries. She produces short and serial content for clients including Showtime, Vice and Oxygen, and is currently producing SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE INCARCERATED, a feature documentary exploring the lives of children affected by parental incarceration.

Associate Producer Steffie van Rhee is from The Netherlands, where she earned a BA in Journalism. She worked as a researcher and producer for various award winning Dutch documentary filmmakers before pursuing a graduate degree in Documentary Media Studies at The New School. She's one of the co-founders of #girlcrew collective, an artist collective that focuses on female empowerment and social justice. She's the director of A LIFE BEFORE THIS, a short documentary about a police shooting in the Bronx.



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