Informant

Radical activist or FBI informant?

Informant

Informant

About the Film

Informant is a fascinating portrait of Brandon Darby, a radical left-wing activist turned FBI informant.  In 2005, Darby became an overnight hero when he traveled to Katrina-devastated New Orleans and braved toxic floodwaters to rescue a stranded friend.  Soon after, he co-founded Common Ground, a successful grassroots relief organization.  But over the next few years, he began hiding a shocking secret.  After two young protestors were arrested at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Darby revealed he had been instrumental in their indictment as an FBI informant.  Today, having renounced his left-wing past, he is a tea-party darling who writes regularly for the right-leaning website Breitbart.com.

The only film with access to Darby since his public confession, Informant meticulously constructs a picture of his life – before and after the many death threats he has received - through interviews and tense reenactments starring Darby himself.  Darby's version of events is accompanied - and often contradicted - by acquaintances and expert commentators, posing complicated questions about trust and the nature of reality.  As David Hanners of St. Paul Pioneer Press suggests, "When you interview people about Brandon Darby, you realize that everyone has a different idea of who he is.”

In addition to trying to unlock the mystery of Brandon Darby, Informant offers an powerful insider look at the hidden use of informants in contemporary America – an especially timely issue in light of the recent leaks about government surveillance.

Starring: Scott Crow, Brandon Darby, Michael T Stewart
Director: Jamie Meltzer

Reactions

 "Smartly gives all sides of the story their chance to speak, creating an almost Rashomon-like viewing experience where we're encouraged to decide the truth on our own." - Kalvin Henely, Slant

"Mesmerizing and Timely! Informant is riveting as it slowly assembles a damning profile of its subject." - Ernest Hardy, Village Voice

"Oozes with espionage enigma." - Michael Atkinson, Time Out New York

“The Grand Jury Prize goes to a film that is thrilling from beginning to end, that innovates documentary form, that takes a small corner of America and looks at our widest issues. For its Rashomon-like investigation of a terrorist crime that did or didn’t happen, the Grand Jury Prize goes to Informant.” - DOC NYC Jury Statement

“An absorbing puzzle with the potential to intrigue viewers all along the political spectrum.” - Dennis Harvey, Variety

“A kind of “Fog of War” for the age of Occupy” - Anthony Kaufman, Indiewire

"An examination of the paranoia-filled American political divide. An unsettling portrait of a charismatic true believer, whose most consistent belief is that he’s the hero of a grand narrative." - Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail

Awards & Festivals

  • Winner! DOC NYC 2012, Grand Jury Prize
  • Winner! Austin Film Festival 2012, Best Documentary
  • Winner! Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival 2012, Best Documentary
  • Winner! Fargo Film Festival 2012, Best Documentary

Cast & Crew

Featuring

Scott Crow
Brandon Darby

Crew

Director: Jamie Meltzer
Writer: Jamie Meltzer
Editors: Summers Henderson, John Kane, Jamie Meltzer
Producers: Steve Bannatyne, Emile Bokaer, Michael May, George Rush, Adam Spielberg
Director of Photography: Frazer Bradshaw
Music: T. Griffin

Director Biography

Jamie Meltzer

Jamie Meltzer’s feature documentary films have been broadcast nationally on PBS and screened at numerous film festivals worldwide. They include Off the Charts: The Song-Poem Story (Independent Lens, 2003) about the shadowy world of song-poems, Welcome to Nollywood, an investigation into the wildly successful Nigerian movie industry (PBS broadcast, 2008), and La Caminata (2009), a recent short film about a small town in Mexico that runs a simulated border crossing as a tourist attraction, screened at Silverdocs and True/False, among others. Mr. Meltzer teaches in the Documentary Film and Video M.F.A. Program at Stanford University.

Technical Info

Production Year: 2012
Countries of Production: US
Languages: English
Running Time: 1h 21m
Screen Ratio: 1.77:1
Color: Color
Rating: Unrated

Theaters

Hollywood
California
9/13/13
New York
New York
9/13/13
Hudson
New York
9/20/13
Minneapolis
Minnesota
9/20/13
Palm Desert
California
9/27/13
New Orleans
Louisiana
9/27/13
Chicago
Illinois
10/4/13
Phoenix
Arizona
10/4/13
Portland
Oregon
10/4/13
Portland
Maine
10/4/13
Coral Gables
Florida
10/18/13
Grand Rapids
Michigan
10/18/13
San Francisco
California
10/25/13

Informant - Press Page

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Awards & Festivals

  • Winner! DOC NYC 2012, Grand Jury Prize
  • Winner! Austin Film Festival 2012, Best Documentary
  • Winner! Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival 2012, Best Documentary
  • Winner! Fargo Film Festival 2012, Best Documentary

Reactions

 "Smartly gives all sides of the story their chance to speak, creating an almost Rashomon-like viewing experience where we're encouraged to decide the truth on our own." - Kalvin Henely, Slant

"Mesmerizing and Timely! Informant is riveting as it slowly assembles a damning profile of its subject." - Ernest Hardy, Village Voice

"Oozes with espionage enigma." - Michael Atkinson, Time Out New York

“The Grand Jury Prize goes to a film that is thrilling from beginning to end, that innovates documentary form, that takes a small corner of America and looks at our widest issues. For its Rashomon-like investigation of a terrorist crime that did or didn’t happen, the Grand Jury Prize goes to Informant.” - DOC NYC Jury Statement

“An absorbing puzzle with the potential to intrigue viewers all along the political spectrum.” - Dennis Harvey, Variety

“A kind of “Fog of War” for the age of Occupy” - Anthony Kaufman, Indiewire

"An examination of the paranoia-filled American political divide. An unsettling portrait of a charismatic true believer, whose most consistent belief is that he’s the hero of a grand narrative." - Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail

Detailed Film Info

Informant is a fascinating portrait of Brandon Darby, a radical left-wing activist turned FBI informant.  In 2005, Darby became an overnight hero when he traveled to Katrina-devastated New Orleans and braved toxic floodwaters to rescue a stranded friend.  Soon after, he co-founded Common Ground, a successful grassroots relief organization.  But over the next few years, he began hiding a shocking secret.  After two young protestors were arrested at the 2008 Republican National Convention, Darby revealed he had been instrumental in their indictment as an FBI informant.  Today, having renounced his left-wing past, he is a tea-party darling who writes regularly for the right-leaning website Breitbart.com.

The only film with access to Darby since his public confession, Informant meticulously constructs a picture of his life – before and after the many death threats he has received - through interviews and tense reenactments starring Darby himself.  Darby's version of events is accompanied - and often contradicted - by acquaintances and expert commentators, posing complicated questions about trust and the nature of reality.  As David Hanners of St. Paul Pioneer Press suggests, "When you interview people about Brandon Darby, you realize that everyone has a different idea of who he is.”

In addition to trying to unlock the mystery of Brandon Darby, Informant offers an powerful insider look at the hidden use of informants in contemporary America – an especially timely issue in light of the recent leaks about government surveillance.

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