"The YouTube Effect"
The director of multiple tech documentaries, including Deep Web: The Untold Story of Bitcoin and the Silk Road, actor-turned-filmmaker Alex Winter turns his attention to the world’s second-most visited website, YouTube. The YouTube Effect chronicles the history of the video social media platform, which was so wildly successful after its 2005 launch that Google purchased it just one year later for $1.65 billion. Winter also casts a critical eye at the YouTube policies that allow misinformation and potentially harmful content to remain online and the algorithm designed to push such videos to increase user engagement. Winter is not a stranger to YouTube: besides being an early YouTube user, he directed the 2015 comedy Smosh: The Movie from the one of the most popular and influential comedy collective on YouTube. While YouTube did not finance Smosh: The Movie, Winter’s experience making the film did provide him with some familiarity with YouTube’s inner workings that years later would help him make this documentary. Winter’s interview subjects include YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, former CEO Susan Wojcicki, Smosh co-founder Anthony Padilla, YouTube creator Natalie Wynn, online abuse lawyer Carrie Goldberg, and game developer Brianna Wu, one of the targets of the #GamerGate harassment campaign. The YouTube Effect opens July 7 in theaters. Director Alex Winter and producer Gale Anne Hurd will attend the 6:30 p.m. July 11 screening of The YouTube Effect at the Alamo South Lamar. Actor-turned-filmmaker Alex Winter previously directed the tech documentaries Deep Web: The Untold Story of Bitcoin and the Silk Road, about Ross Ulbricht, the Austinite who ran the darknet market website Silk Road under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts”; Downloaded, about Napster; and Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain. His other documentaries include Zappa, Showbiz Kids, and The Panama Papers. His narrative features include Freaked and Fever. As an actor, Alex Winter appeared in Death Wish 3, The Lost Boys, Rosalie Goes Shopping, and the Bill & Ted franchise. In 1988, Alex Winter collaborated with actor John Hawkes and the Butthole Surfers on the Austin-shot Super 8 psychedelic horror short Entering Texas aka Bar-B-Que Movie.
Aired: June 28, 2023.