A documentary on the resources and minerals that power cryptocurrency, blockchain and AI.
We’re in the midst of an invisible mining boom, and SUPPLY CHAIN is an unprecedented survey of it in real time.
But why does cryptocurrency use the “mining” analogy to unearth digital resources? We begin to answer this question by dissecting a Bitcoin mining computer, which is comprised of Gold, Tantalum, Tin, Silicon and other elements from over 13 countries. A multiplexed supply chain is revealed- where nanoscopic components rely on raw ores unearthed using labor practices from the Neolithic.
“Our treasure impulse has led us to use computational technologies to mine wealth. Yet even in the realm of virtual currency there are
very palpable material needs that we cannot afford to ignore.”
– Saleem H. Ali, Author
Treasures of the Earth: Need, Greed and a Sustainable Future
SUPPLY CHAIN looks at the energy consumption and resources behind the world’s most powerful (and power-hungry) computers.
In essayistic form, the film connects the footnotes of history that have led us to digital mining, cryptocurrency and high-performance computing industries. We look at mining as a human practice– from the evolution of tools used to extract silver in 16th century Bolivia, to the advent of computerized prospecting, to the console of the Sony Playstation II, which escalated conflict in the Congo in the 1990s. The result is a timely counterpoint to the adoption of “invisible” cloud-based networks, and the ecologically and financially volatile industry of cryptocurrency mining.
The film integrates archival media and rare observational footage with perspectives from leading technologists, historians and theorists.
Alex Tyson is an American filmmaker and artist known for his films Mountain Fire Personnel (2015), Divieto 2 (2018) and his work on the Oscar nominated and Emmy winning documentary Gasland (2011, HBO) for which he won a Cinema Eye Honor. He has worked as a cinematographer in Brazil, China, Italy, The South Pacific, Scandinavia and extensively throughout the USA. His first documentary was awarded the Prix du Jury La Mobilière at Visions du Réel (2015) and screened at MoMA Documentary Fortnight (2016). He recently contributed special photography to National Geographic's 2017 Emmy-winning documentary LA92 and his film Divieto 2 premiered at The Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Art of The Real festival in 2018. Supply Chain will be his directorial debut for a feature film. >>>
Maya E. Rudolph is a producer of nonfiction films and series. Her recent credits include the 7-episode VICE China series Future Homes; a 2019 four-part Netflix documentary series and the feature documentary SHIRKERS (dir. Sandi Tan), which was awarded the Directing Prize for World Cinema Documentary at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. As a post supervisor, she has overseen editorial workflow, technical finishing, and distribution on films and series for studios such as Vice, IFC, Netflix and A24. She is based in Los Angeles and Beijing and speaks and reads fluent Mandarin. >>>
Dr. Saleem H. Ali is a leading academic focusing on sustainability and mineral extraction. He was recently named to the United Nations International Resource Panel, a select group of 38 scientists and practitioners worldwide chosen to advise the UN system on resource management issues. He is currently the Blue and Gold Distinguished Professor of Energy and the Environment at the University of Delaware and has held the Chair in Sustainable Resources Development at the University of Queensland, Australia. Ali was chosen as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2011 and received an Emerging Explorer award from the National Geographic Society in 2010. He is the author of 3 books and over a hundred peer-reviewed publications. His research focuses on environmental conflicts in the extractive industries and how ecological cooperation can promote peace in international relations. >>>
Estelle Levin-Nally is an impact entrepreneur, advisor and leader in responsible, sustainable and ‘better’ business practices linked to mining and minerals. Estelle contributes to projects, programmes, policies and strategies that drive transformational change across supply chains. Named as one of the Top 100 Conflict Minerals Influence Leaders in 2016 & 2017 and Top 100 Modern Slavery Influence Leaders in 2018, Estelle has delivered traceability, risk management and responsible sourcing solutions for mining companies, luxury brands, multi-lateral donor organisations, governments and civil society. She is closely affiliated with various boards and committees dedicated to driving responsible sourcing practices, including the Responsible Jewellery Council, Ethical Metalsmiths, Fair Luxury, and the Alliance for Responsible Mining’s CRAFT Code. Estelle is based in Cambridge, UK, where she leads management consultancy and social venture Levin Sources. >>>
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We are currently seeking co-production support from platforms, institutions and foundations. Your info will be kept confidential. Direct contact: alextyson @ gmail.com