Private Project


After the 2012 launch of a hyper-successful crowd-funding campaign for her online video series, Tropes vs. Women in Video Games, the feminist media-critic Anita Sarkeesian became a target of one the worst Internet-organized harassment campaigns the world has seen. Built while facing down the incessant tides of misogynist hatred fomented under the so-called #GamerGate campaign. Ms. Sarkeesian and her team managed to pull off a multi-year odyssey that involved navigating terrorist threats, FBI investigations, media appearances, and intense world-wide travel—all smashed in between playing ungodly amounts of videogames—to successfully produce a body of work that has instigated enormous change in the videogame industry and become a seminal work of media critique. With truly unprecedented access over 5 years of filming, this is the first documentary of Ms. Sarkeesian and the only time she has allowed a film crew to tell her story. This film has never before been shown publicly.

  • Ryan O'Donnell
  • Matt Chandronait
  • Ryan O'Donnell
  • Anita Sarkeesian
    Key Cast
  • Cesar Quintero
    Directors of Photography
  • Ryan O'Donnell
    Directors of Photography
  • Ryan O'Donnell
  • Jason Betrand
  • Project Type:
  • Genres:
    Observational, Interview
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 24 minutes 34 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 19, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    140,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    Sweden, United States
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Ryan O'Donnell

Ryan's earliest work was as co-creator of one of the most successful early online-only video programs, The 1UP Show. A hugely ambitious production that produced hour-long episodes every week of the calendar year for three years before most people had even heard of a "YouTube." It established his presence as a creative force in and around the videogames industry, and created a baseline expectation of high quality when the crew on that show later co-founded the San Francisco-based production company, Area 5. While Area 5 pays the bills through commercial client work, their true passion has always lived in their original productions—productions that were never quite the "side projects" they were made out to be. Anita is the latest example of this passion, their first submission to any film festival, and Ryan's public premiere as both a documentary feature film director and editor. In 2014, Area 5 successfully crowdfunded a documentary series titled Outerlands, which has released six episodes and is still in post-production on the final four. In partnership with Blizzard Entertainment they have produced another documentary series, The Tour, which followed professional Esports players around the world in a quest for the grand prize. They've also created other feature-length documentaries in commercial partnerships, including Grounded: Making the Last of Us and I Am Street Fighter.

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Director Statement

Almost everywhere Anita Sarkeesian's story is told, it's told through the lens of being a target of harassment. That's an inextricable part of her story, but it has this kind of macro-only perspective. It ignores essential pieces of her life. She's put hours and hours of herself speaking on the Internet. There are news appearances, keynotes, panels, stories, photos, but none of them really give you a complete picture of what it takes from her and what it takes for her to do what she does. Through Anita, we tell the human story of a person who's changed the world.