XCLD: The Story of Cancel Culture
XCLD: The Story of Cancel Culture
XCLD: The Story of Cancel Culture
XCLD: The Story of Cancel Culture
XCLD: The Story of Cancel Culture

XCLD: The Story of Cancel Culture

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    • Directed by: Ferne Pearlstein
    • Released: 2024 (educational)
    • Year of Production: 2023
Running Time: 40 min
Language: English
Subtitle Options: English Closed Captions
Subjects: American Studies, Film and Media, Social Wellness

***Digital Site Licenses exclusively available via Kanopy***
The notion of Cancel Culture, which grew out of a mostly progressive move to hold people accountable for bad behavior (especially racist or misogynistic language), has recently been co-opted by conservatives who–in equal measure–bemoan its “woke” goals, cast themselves as its victims, and attempt to use it themselves as a political powerplay, while seeking to deplatform opponents with similar strategies. But is Cancel Culture really new? Or really that powerful? Or really that bad? XCLD is a nuanced look at this provocative and controversial issue that explores the evolution of Cancel Culture, from its history in different forms, to its contemporary genesis on Black Twitter, to where it is today: another divisive issue for people to argue over, and one that creates some exceptionally odd bedfellows.
NBC Original

About the filmmaker 

FERNE PEARLSTEIN is a member of the Documentary Branch of the Academy, winner of the Sundance Cinematography Prize for Ramona Diaz’s IMELDA, and has graduate degrees in Documentary from the International Center of Photography and Stanford University. Ferne has made films all over the world, from Haiti to Uganda to Guyana to Burma, where she snuck her 16mm camera into the rebel bases of the Karen Liberation Army just days before they were burned to the ground. Among her many credits as a cinematographer are Oscar winner Alex Gibney’s segment of FREAKONOMICS (Tribeca), three-time Oscar nominee Deborah Dickson’s RUTHIE AND CONNIE (HBO), and Oscar winner Vanessa Roth’s TAKEN IN, which won a DuPont/Columbia Award, and which Ferne also co-produced. 

As a director/producer Ferne has had four features premiere at Tribeca, including SUMO EAST AND WEST and the critically acclaimed THE LAST LAUGH, starring Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, and many others, which screened at over a hundred film festivals and was released theatrically in more than 25 cities. (Both aired nationwide on PBS/Independent Lens, and streamed on Netflix and Amazon.) She has since become a recognized speaker and author on humor as it relates to crisis. Her work also intersects with her activism as part of Persisticon, which stages comedy events to raise money for feminist/BIPOC candidates. In 2020, Ferne was one of a handful of filmmakers chosen by the UN, Google, and Tribeca to direct 17 PSAs about building a sustainable planet, which were featured on YouTube and shown at the UN General Assembly.

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