By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist August 20, 2013 at 3:02PM
In an age of massive surveillance and whistle-blowing, trust is quickly becoming the most valuable currency of them all. As activists continue to congregate online (and offline), knowing who you can confide in with complete confidence and solidarity can be at tricky business. But what if the one person you thought you could rely on, turned out to be working for the enemy? That's at the core of "Informant," an upcoming documentary with a rather remarkable story to tell.
Described as a kind of " 'Fog Of War' for the age of Occupy" by Indiewire brethren Anthony Kaufman, Jamie Meltzer's Doc NYC Grand Jury Prize winning film tells the true tale of Brandon Darby, who co-founded grassrooots organization Common Ground, and seemed to fit every description you might have of someone committed to the left. Instead, to the shock and surprise of his friends and fellow activists, Darby had been an FBI informant the entire time, and played a role in the arrest of two protestors at the 2008 Republication National Convention. And as you'll see in this exclusive clip, those around him were simply astounded. Here's the official synopsis:
INFORMANT is a fascinating portrait of Brandon Darby, a radical left-wing activist turned FBI informant. In 2005, Darby became an overnight hero when he traveled to Katrina-devastated New Orleans and braved toxic floodwaters to rescue a stranded friend. Soon after, he co-founded Common Ground, a successful grassroots relief organization. But over the next few years, he began hiding a shocking secret. After two young protestors were arrested at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Darby revealed he had been instrumental in their indictment as an FBI informant. Today, having renounced his left-wing past, he is a tea-party darling who writes regularly for the right-leaning web site Breitbart.com
The only film with access to Darby since his public confession, INFORMANT meticulously constructs a picture of Brandon's life – before and after the many death threats he has received - through interviews and tense reenactments starring Brandon himself. Darby's version of events is accompanied - and often contradicted - by evidence from acquaintances and expert commentators, posing complicated questions about trust and the nature of reality. As David Hanners of St. Paul Pioneer Press suggests, "When you interview people about Brandon Darby, you realize that everyone has a different idea of who he is.”
In addition to trying to unlock the mystery of Darby, INFORMANT offers an powerful insider look at the hidden use of informants in contemporary America – an especially timely issue in light of the recent leaks about government surveillance.
Music Box Films will release "Informant" theatrically nationwide and on VOD starting on September 13th. Check out the clip below, along with the original trailer and new poster.