While in the throes of depression, Brown University student Sunil Tripathi walked out of his Providence apartment and disappeared into the cold Rhode Island night. In a desperate search to find him, his family launched a social media movement that reached across the country and brought together a community dedicated to finding him. In the days following the Boston Marathon bombings the family's month-long investigation into Sunil's disappearance exploded into a virtual confrontation with e-vigilantes, citizen journalists and traditional media eager to feed their insatiable hunger for breaking news. In Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi, the Tripathi family tells a story of the healing and destructive power of social media and director Neal Broffman offers an intimate look at the enduring love that unites a family in crisis.
Reviews / Quotes:
"An exceptional documentary about a tragic misidentification that fires on all cylinders." - Gary Garrison, Way Too Indie
"Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi is exceptionally moving as it pieces together a sensitive study of the victims of depression and mental illness. ... Help Us Find Sunil Tripathi demands audiences to separate what is trending from what is true, and this compelling doc is an urgent reminder to see the human face behind the hashtag. You’ll want to hug your loved ones after seeing it." - Patrick Mullen, POV Magazine"
"The Sunil Tripathi affair was a sad sidebar to the April 15, 2013 terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon. Here it becomes a cautionary tale of the Internet from filmmaker Neal Broffman. Tripathi, a musically inclined Brown University student from an assimilated Indian-American Bryn Mawr household, disappeared in March of that year. Worried relatives utilized Facebook, YouTube, and other online resources in their frantic search. The digerati were supportive...initially. Then the deadly Boston Marathon bombs went off (detonated by two Islamic-militant Chechen brothers), and the still-missing Sunil somehow got labeled as a prime suspect. Web-based journalists (the site Reddit is especially criticized here) feverishly re-tweeted the unconfirmed rumors and misinformation, and Tripathi's already-desperate family found themselves vilified and threatened by cyberspace trolls in a cruel rush to judgment. That social media crawls with obscene bigots, bullies, and sociopaths is not exactly a revelation, but this film offers a moment-by-moment depiction of how "fake news" and high-tech lynching happens. Tripathi’s fate is ultimately revealed in this tragic but instructive story that could not be more timely. Recommended. Aud: C, P. (C. Cassady)" - Video Librarian