With technology increasingly driving all aspects of our society, we are moving quickly toward becoming a “technopoly." Using a visual essay documentary form we will explore the unintended and often dehumanizing consequences of our society's embedded belief that technological progress will lead to the betterment of humanity. Is technological progress inevitable? Are we all increasingly isolated? Do we really have agency to direct its course? Is technology an expression of our humanity or is technology destroying our humanity? The film will be a critical and reflective meditation on these questions, using cinematic language that evokes the body and nature to counter the myth of technological progress. USERS is supported by Sundance Art of Non Fiction Fellowship, Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program with support from the Simons Foundation, JustFilms | Ford Foundation, International Documentary Association Enterprise Documentary Fund, Chicken and Egg Breakthrough Grant, Atlas Industries, Field of Vision / First Look Media, Simplemente and EFICINE.
Recipient of the 2012 MacArthur Genius Award, Natalia Almada combines artistic expression with social inquiry to make films that are both personal reflections and critical social commentaries. Her work straddles the boundaries of documentary, fiction, and experimental film. Her most recent film Todo lo demás (Everything Else) is a narrative feature starring Academy Award-nominated Adriana Barraza; it premiered at the New York Film Festival and was nominated for a Mexican Academy Award. El Velador (The Night Watchman) premiered at the 2011 Cannes Directors' Fortnight and broadcast on the award-winning PBS program POV, along with her other two feature documentaries Al otro lado (To The Other Side) and El General (The General). Almada's short film All Water Has a Perfect Memory premiered at the 2002 Sundance Film Festival and received the Best Documentary Short award at the Tribeca Film Festival. Almada was the recipient of the 2009 Best Documentary Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival and has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, USA Artists, The Herb Alpert Foundation, and MacDowell Colony. Almada graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in photography from the Rhode Island School of Design and currently lives between Mexico City and San Francisco.