Us Now

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Us Now
Directed byIvo Gormley
Produced byHugh Hartford (Banyak Films)
Music byOrlando Roberton (Pixelphonics)
CinematographyRobin Fox
Edited byMark Atkins
Release date
  • April 2009 (2009-04)
Running time
60 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Us Now is a 2009 documentary film project "about the power of mass collaboration, the government and the Internet".[1] The New York Times describes it as a film which "paints a future in which every citizen is connected to the state as easily as to Facebook, choosing policies, questioning politicians, collaborating with neighbours."[2]

The documentary weaves together the perceptions of leading thinkers on the power of the web, with the overriding suggestion that people gain a sense of satisfaction from active participation rather than symbolic representation in decision-making processes.[3] (Rebecca Frankel, editor of Channel 4's FourDocs)

The project claims the founding principles of mass collaborative projects, including transparency, self-selection and open-participation are nearing mainstream social and political lives. Us Now describes this transition and confronts politicians George Osborne and Ed Miliband with the possibilities for collaborative government as described by Don Tapscott and Clay Shirky amongst others.


The Us Now website describes the project as an examination of the role of the internet, and more specifically Web 2.0 in facilitating direct public governance without the need for politicians. The film tells the stories of the online mass collaboration projects such as Mumsnet, CouchSurfing, Slice the Pie and My Football Club whose self-organising structures may "threaten to change the fabric of government."[4]

Release and distribution[edit]

Us Now premiered at the Prince Charles Cinema in December 2008 and was released in spring '09 for free online viewing.[5] All of the material generated during the project is available to view and download on a Creative Commons license "and also encourages others to remix the core content with the 20 hours of footage available on the Us Now website (and presumably their own material) to draw other conclusions."[6]
Following release online the film was screened on Channel 4's More4 on 11 July 2009.[7] In late 2009 Us Now was the first film to be distributed on VODO,[8] a legal torrent distribution website, and received 100,000 downloads in its first five days of being available.[9] The film has been translated and subtitled into 29 languages on the dotSUB[10] platform and has been screened in many locations across the world.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Us Now website". Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  2. ^ New York Times
  3. ^ FourDocs Review Archived 23 January 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Financial Times Review". 20 February 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  5. ^ York, Anna (15 May 2009). "Harvard Kennedy School of Government". Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  6. ^ "Oliver Marks (ZD Net)". 4 March 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  7. ^ "Channel 4". Channel 4. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  8. ^ "VODO". VODO. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  9. ^ Cooper, Sarah (19 October 2009). "Screen Daily". Screen Daily. Retrieved 15 September 2010.
  10. ^ "DotSub". DotSub. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2011.
  11. ^ "Us Now Global Screening Project". 5 August 2009. Retrieved 15 September 2010.

External links[edit]