SwattedIsmaël Joffroy Chandoutis, 21 min, France.
Online players describe their struggles with “swatting”, a life-threatening cyber-harassment phenomenon that looms over them whenever they play. The events take shape through youtube videos and wireframe images from a video game.
Some game trolls in the United States make a sport of getting other players “swatted” live during the game: they find out someone’s name and address, fake his caller ID, and make a bogus 911 call. The next thing you know, a SWAT team armed to the teeth is bursting into his house and giving him the fright of his life. This is all streamed live on camera, of course, so everyone can be in on the joke.
Swatted is a cinematic exploration of this phenomenon based on 911 calls by offenders, YouTube videos of games and raids, and first-hand accounts of what it’s like to be swatted. Mesmerizing, almost surreal animations explore and depict the strange borderland of gaming fantasy in which game and reality overlap—an unreal zone in which gaming and swatting look increasingly similar. The film raises the question of which is the more frightening thought: that the trolls hiding behind computer screens and phones don’t entirely understand just how serious their game is, or that they’re actually very aware of it.