The Cleaners


In the Philippines, a team of “cleaners” specialize in identifying and eliminating obscene content from the internet. As they describe their experience evaluating harrowing scenes like executions and child pornography in rapid succession, their remarkable accounts of the pressures and personal judgments inherent in their work give way to a broader examination of the global impact of manipulating content on social media. Citing scenarios around the world, the film highlights the consequences of censorship. An artist’s Facebook page is seized after she posts an unflattering nude painting of Donald Trump, while activists in Turkey lose the use of social media tools to organize when the government blocks access based on IP addresses. Through a range of examples, and by viewing some of the disturbing content in question, we see the ripple effects of decisions made millions of miles away and the challenges involved in determining what should be suppressed. Ultimately, the internet is not a free space, and the responsibility to monitor it comes at a significant cost.  ST

Q&A following screening


Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck


Christian Beetz


Philipp Gromov, Hansjörg Weißbrich, Markus CM Schmidt


Axel Schneppat, Max Preiss

Release Year


Festival Year



Germany, Brazil

Run Time

88 minutes


Partially subtitled