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Alex Gibney on Finding the Structure in a Film About Cyber Warfare

Director Alex Gibney examines the world of cyber warfare with his new documentary Zero Days, which focuses on a piece of malware designed by the U.S. and Israel to prevent Iran’s nuclear enrichment. The story–complete with digital detectives at a firm called Symantec–is a microcosm of the larger potential for devastating consequences in a hyper-connected world.

“It was really difficult [to figure out the film’s structure], and the storytelling was the time frame,” Gibney tells Moveable Fest. “We knew about the work that Symantec had done and as we were making the film, we reached out to Liam. Frankly, it wasn’t until we got them on board that the film really had a sense of structure and story. They’re the cyber detectives in what is a detective story and Eric and Liam were telling their story as it happened to them and some of that same stuff also happens to the [whistleblower] character. We didn’t want to introduce that character for a while, until we got to this frustrating block where nobody would talk, so figuring out exactly what to reveal when was really the structural issue. Then there was a certain amount of history we had to fold in, and all the while you want to keep the sense of a thriller momentum going. That was the tricky part, and it took us a long time to get the mix right.”

Read the full story here.