Directed by Michael Kleiman
Web is a cutting-edge documentary film that mixes a deeply personal story about people in the most remote parts of the world using digital technologies for the first time and interviews with some of the leading figures in the tech world.
For 10 months, award-winning director, Michael Kleiman, lived with families in small villages in Peru’s Andes Mountains and Amazon Jungle as children there experienced laptops and the Internet for the first time via the One Laptop per Child program. The film captures both the villagers’ first interactions with connective technologies – their discovery of tools like Google and Wikipedia, their hilarious search through videos on YouTube, and poignant moments in which they connect with family members they haven’t seen in years – as well their nuanced feelings about the arrival of this technology in their village. We see both the power offered by connective tools and the many technical complications that arise as they are brought to such isolated locations.
In addition to documenting the villagers technological journey, the film depicts the filmmaker’s own “analog” voyage to some of the most remote parts of the globe. A deep bond and moving friendship emerges between the lives on screen and the filmmaker behind the camera. In this manner, Web considers both the incredible potential born out of technological connection – new possibilities for dialogue, cultural exchange and collaboration – while also considering what is lost in the process – the loss of traditional cultures and a breakdown of our understanding of the word ‘connection’ itself.
The rich and compelling narrative in Peru is inter-cut with provocative and timely interviews with leading figures in the tech world, including One Laptop per Child Founder, Nicholas Negroponte; Wikipedia Founder, Jimmy Wales; ‘Father of the Internet,’ Vint Cerf; Former Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. State Department, Anne-Marie Slaughter; and Foursquare Founder, Dennis Crowley. The interviews offer powerful insight into how the Internet and connective technologies are profoundly changing our world and inextricably intertwining our lives in the process.