Untitled Stasi

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TYPE
: Documentary
GENRE: Documentary
STATUS: Development

LOGLINE

East Germany built a surveillance state that weaponized citizens’ private data. Thirty years later, a victim of the secret police investigates his file and confronts those who betrayed him.

SYNOPSIS

The East German secret police gathered and weaponized an unparalleled amount of personal information. “Untitled Stasi” is a spy-thriller that explores the lingering consequences of a surveillance state through a victim who investigates his Stasi file and his family's complicity with the secret police.

ARTISTIC STATEMENT

Aesthetically, “Untitled Stasi” will feel like a spy thriller. We’ll use camera techniques that evoke the secrecy and paranoia of the period. In private spaces, we’ll film up close with a 35mm lens to give the feeling of confidants speaking in tight quarters. For interviews, we’re filming subjects speaking directly into the camera. This is a deeply personal narrative for those involved. We want the audience to feel like they are having an intimate conversation with the people on screen. Supporting b-roll in public spaces will be captured with telephoto lenses to give an unconscious sense of voyeurism, as if we’re spying on the subjects. Interstitial imagery will be captured at awkward angles from eye level, as if we’re seeing the world through our subjects’ diminished position in society. Primary source material will be very important to the visual language of the film, and brings with it its own aesthetic: film shot on outdated equipment that gives a distinctly retro feel; photos often shot from strange angles because they were taken from cameras hidden in bags, coats, car doors and other objects; and of course the files themselves that bear a distinctly yellow tint because the Stasi did not use acid-free paper. The sound track will play a key role in bridging the divide between then and now. To make this more accessible to a younger generation, the music score will be orchestral interpretations of popular songs from the 70s and 80s that have transcended generations.

KEY CREW

Gabriel Silverman - Director/DP
Silverman’s debut feature, “TransMilitary”, premiered at SXSW 2018 where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary. It was distributed by Gravitas Ventures worldwide, including through Viacom/Logo TV and Amazon Prime in the U.S. market. Silverman was named to the 10 Filmmakers to Watch list by The Independent. He began his career as a journalist at The Washington Post. Silverman has won more than a dozen awards for his reporting and filmmaking, including an Edward R. Murrow Award for his investigative work, a White House News Photographers Award for Best Documentary, two Emmy nominations, and a GLAAD Media Award. Silverman is an IFP Documentary Lab Fellow and a RIAS Fellow. His work has been supported by the International Documentary Association, Catapult Film Fund, Miller/Packan Film Fund, GLAAD Media Institute, Frameline Completion Fund, and many others.

Jamie Coughlin - Producer/Director
Coughlin is a journalist and a creative producer. This is her directorial debut. She is the recipient of a White House News Photographers Award for Best Documentary, was nominated for an Emmy, and is an IFP Documentary Lab Fellow and a RIAS fellow. Coughlin wrote and produced her first feature doc, “TransMilitary”. It premiered at SXSW 2018, where it won the Audience Award for Best Documentary and received critical acclaim, including a GLAAD Media Award. Coughlin was named to the 10 Filmmakers to Watch list by The Independent. Her work has been supported by the International Documentary Association, Catapult Film Fund, Miller/Packan Film Fund, GLAAD Media Institute, Frameline Completion Fund, and many others. Coughlin and her husband, Gabriel Silverman left their newsroom jobs in 2015 to start their production company, SideXSide Studios. Previously, Coughlin was the supervising producer at USA Today.

 

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ACCOLADES

-
IFP Fiscal Sponsorship Program 2020
-
Catapult Fund grantee
-
IDA Enterprise Documentary Fund -- development fund grantee

 

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