'Money and power take precedence over human rights.'
In 2018, one of the most brazen murders of a journalist took place in recent times. Actioned on foreign soil at a consulate in Istanbul, Turkey. The man's name was Jamal Khashoggi. A Saudi Arabian citizen and a well-known writer for the Washington Post. Little did the Saudi Arabian regime know that this murder would cause shockwaves the world over and ramifications that would be felt well beyond the region. At the time, director Bryan Fogel, like everyone else, was glued to the news watching the events unfold.
He was just coming off an enormous win with his riveting Academy Award-winning 2017 film, Icarus, based on one of the most elaborate doping scandals in history at the hands of the Russian government. An enormously, entertaining and brilliant documentary.
To say Bryan is drawn to hazardous subject matter would be an understatement. His sense of outrage and moral conviction resonates so strongly throughout his work. By that, he is probably the most important filmmaker alive today, considering his truth to power formula.
Over the next two years, Bryan decided to examine the heartbreaking events of the assassination for his follow up film, The Dissident. No amount of wealth and power could cover up this killing; Mohammed bin Salman, the shrouded state leader, has now been identified as the chief in command who greenlit the murder.
Fogel’s films read more like Greek tragedies rather than documentaries, at times too bizarre to believe, but all real. The pace of his films feels more like Hollywood thrillers, impossible to look away from.
Like Icarus, The Dissident shares some common property; both films don’t shy away from revealing the layers of corruption and denial that ooze out of these regimes. This Dissident was so politically sensitive that both Netflix and Amazon wouldn’t even touch it when he shopped it around. This is a significant film that has implications for all of us. And there are some enormously complex questions laid bare here for us to think about in this movie, and I try to put some of them to Bryan in this interview.
THE DISSIDENT will have its UK Premiere online at the Glasgow Film Festival on 6 March, and Irish Premiere online at the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival on 13 March
For more information visit www.thedissident.film