Winnipeg, Canada — “My Own Father.” “As Young As One.” “Violated: They’ll Never Forget.”
These are just a few of the chilling movie titles from the Unwanted Film Festival – a powerful visual representation of the unimaginable 85 million pieces of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) that were reported in 2021.1 When broken down, that’s one piece of CSAM appearing online every two seconds; when combined, they make up more content than all the world’s film festivals put together.
The festival, which launches as the Tribeca Film Festival winds down in New York City, has utilized AI technology to generate 85 million movie posters on the festival’s website (unwantedfilmfest.com). The titles and taglines are taken from real CSAM survivor accounts of how this material has profoundly affected all aspects of their lives, and how its continued availability only compounds the trauma and threatens their safety.
The physical installation located at Lume Studios (393 Broadway, New York), stylized to look like a movie theatre, features the film posters on digital panels that rapidly change to represent the speed at which CSAM is appearing online. Posters are portrayed in multiple languages – including English, French, Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, and German – to reflect the global nature of this epidemic.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) is using the campaign to bring awareness to the vast availability of CSAM online, much of which can be found on commonly used platforms and services, and issue an urgent call to the public to hold tech accountable to not only remove CSAM from their platforms, but ensure it’s blocked from appearing on these services in the first place.
“We are now paying the price for decades of neglect and inaction from tech companies around the world - which has cost countless victims and survivors their safety, dignity, and privacy,” says Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of C3P, pointing to the organization’s own data which shows nearly half of all images C3P’s web crawler, Project Arachnid, has issued a removal notice on, had previously been flagged to the service provider. “The Unwanted Film Festival is a global wake‑up call about the failures to adequately address the festering CSAM epidemic on the internet.”
C3P is urging the public to mobilize and turn outrage into action by signing the organization’s petition to demand more from tech to better protect children and survivors around the globe. These results will be shared with those in a position to make change, such as the international leaders attending June’s G7 meeting in Germany.
To learn more about the Unwanted Film Fest, and see the posters in real time, visit unwantedfilmfest.com
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “CyberTipline 2021 report.”
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