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Shadow World
Archived: Shadow World (2016)

director: Johan Grimonprez

composer: Karsten Fundal
With: Narrator: Eduardo Galeano - with: Andrew Feinstein, Robert Fisk, David Leigh, a.o.

duration: 94 minutes
Belgian Cinema Today , Docs , Documentary, War

Gala Premières and special events
Film Fest Gent - Shadow World

Shadow World is a cinematic documentary that reveals the shocking realities of the global arms trade - the only business that counts its profits in billions and its losses in human lives. Directed by artist/filmmaker Johan Grimonprez (dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y), the film is in part based on the acclaimed book "The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade," by Corruption Watch-UK founder Andrew Feinstein.

Through the insights of whistleblowers, investigators, prosecutors, military and industry insiders Shadow World reveals how the international trade in weapons - with the complicity of governments, their militaries and intelligence agencies, defense contractors, arms dealers and agents - fosters corruption, determines economic and foreign policies, undermines democracies and creates widespread suffering. The film unravels a number of the world's largest and most corrupt arms deals through those involved in perpetrating and investigating them. It illustrates why this trade accounts for almost 40% of all corruption in global trade, and how it operates in a parallel legal universe, in which the national security elite who drive it are seldom prosecuted for their often illegal actions. Shadow World posits alternatives through the experience of a peace activist and war correspondent, as well as through the voice of Eduardo Galeano who contributed selections from his stories for the film. Ultimately Shadow World reveals the real costs of war, the way the arms trade drives it, how weapons of war are turned against citizens of liberal democracies and how the trade inhibits rather than enhances security for us all. In shedding light on how our realities are being constructed, the film offers a way for audiences to see through this horror, in the hopes of creating a better future.

"A superbly edited, angry documentary about the global arms trade that will energize politically-minded audiences. Smart, hard-hitting and possibly too intellectual for many, 'Shadow World' deserves wide exposure at home and abroad." (Variety)

20 October - Symposium Shadow World

10:00-12:00 / Location: Kinepolis Gent, Ter Platen 12, 9000 Gent, theatre 8

10:00 Screening of Shadow World
11:40 The Making of Shadow World: Q&A with Johan Grimonprez & Andrew Feinstein, moderated by Pieter Vermeulen.

12:15 - 16h15 / Location: Vooruit Gent, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 23, 9000 Gent, Balzaal (lunch) + Theaterzaal (symposium)

12:15 Lunch
13:30-13:55 Film Clip 1 (Johan Grimonprez)
Lecture 1 by Thomas Elsaesser: "Productive Pathologies of Paranoia"

13:55-14:15 Q&A 1 moderated by Isolde Vanhee with Thomas Elsaesser & Johan Grimonprez

14:15-14:25 Short break

14:25-14:55 Film Clip 2 (Johan Grimonprez)
Lecture 2 by Andrew Feinstein: "Shadow World vs Global Arms Trade"

14:55-15:15 Lecture 3 by Ludo De Brabander: "Shadow World vs Belgian Arms Trade"

15:15-16:00 Q&A 2 moderated by Robrecht vanderbeeken with Andrew Feinstein, Ludo De Brabander (Vrede vzw), Bram Vranken (Vredesactie), Johan Grimonprez, Emmy Oost

16:00-16:15 Film Clip 3 /every day words disappear/ Michael Hardt on the Politics of Love (Johan Grimonprez, 2016, 15min)
All lectures are followed by a Q&A
Spoken language will be English
FB: @shadowworldfilmBeNL

Organized by Film Fest Gent, UGent, Vooruit and Cassette for timescapes.


director: Johan Grimonprez
composer: Karsten Fundal
producer: Anadil Hossain voor Dillywood, Joslyn Barnes voor Louverture Films, Driss Benyaklef voor Dillywood, USA / Coproducenten: Emmy Oost voor Onomatopee Films, Signe Byrge Sørensen voor Final Cut for Real
screenplay: Johan Grimonprez, based on the book by Andrew Feinstein
Editor: Pedro Collantes, Dieter Diependaele, Per K. Kirkegaard
Cinematography: Nicole Mackinlay Hahn
sound: Bill Chesley

production company: Onomatopee Films

More info

dialogue: English
subtitles: Dutch subt.
country: Belgium - Denmark - United States of America
year: 2016

Official site


JOHAN GRIMONPREZ (1962): dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997), Looking for Alfred (2005, short), Double Take (2009), I May Have Lost Forever My Umbrella (2011, short), ...Because Superglue Is Forever! (2012, short), Shadow World (2016).

Technical Specs

format: DCP

Other festival films by director Johan Grimonprez

2011:Dial H-i-s-t-o-r-y
2009:Double take

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