The official trailer for the highly-anticipated documentary Influence – which premiered at the Sundance Festival in January- was recently released.
A major political controversy:
The documentary is set to tell the story of controversial advertising and public relations executive Timothy Bell and his agency Bell Pottinger – the same agency that was accused of facilitating state capture by the Gupta family.
According to My City By Night, the Sunday Times alleged that Bell Pottinger was behind a social media strategy, using a network of fake bloggers, commentators and Twitter users, to influence public opinion, exacerbate racism, and sow racial division in South Africa, as well as targeting media and personalities that were opposed to the Gupta family, on their client's behalf back in 2017.
The accusations later developed into a major political controversy and in September 2017, led the closure of the agency.
About the documentary Influence:
"Using a fascinating blend of archival footage and interviews with Bell and the people who worked with, for, or against him, filmmakers Diana Neille and Richard Poplak conduct an impressively thorough investigation into the politicisation of modern communication," writes Sundance. "Influence is terrifyingly relevant in our current era of alternative facts and theatrical politics.
"He designed campaigns for unpopular politicians, dictators, disgraced companies, and celebrities the same way he put together product branding – by being concise and brutal," they continue to write.
"In 1987 he cofounded Bell Pottinger, which quickly became one of the most influential reputation-management companies in the world—until one of those campaigns incited racial division in South Africa and ruined BP's reputation to a degree beyond spinning. Its cause of death was shrewdly described by the New York Times as 'acute embarrassment'".
Influence airs later in May, for more details on where you can watch the premiere online, click here.
Watch the official trailer over here: