USA, 2012, 80 min
“He gets in people’s minds and can pull you in,” organizer Lisa Fithian once warned a journalist en route to an interview with Brandon Darby, bête noir of last year’s Golden Gate Award winner Better This World. “He’s a master. And you are going to feel all kinds of sympathy for him.” Vilified by some and venerated by others as the FBI informant largely responsible for the imprisonment of two youths following the 2008 Republican National Convention, Darby was once a charismatic activist mythologized by the American Left for his daredevil aid work in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Informant meticulously constructs a portrait of his life—before and after the death threats—through intimate interviews with Darby and tense reenactments starring the man himself. These aspects are accompanied and often contradicted by commentary from acquaintances and expert commentators on various points of the political spectrum. An ear-perking investigation into the exploits of a glory hound who values bravado above brotherhood, the film cedes Darby center stage as a reluctant antihero ready to advance his agenda by any means. With uncommon restraint, Meltzer delivers a fascinating study that transcends political chest beating. Informant raises the possibility of fluid truth in a system addicted to false binaries.
Co-presented by United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF)
This is a Cinema by the Bay film. GGA Documentary Feature Contender. World Premiere.