Documentary “Another Body” explores the impacts of deepfake revenge porn. [SXSW]

There are a lot of things on the internet that are gross, and I don’t mean those weird videos of people popping pimples or anything like that. In the last 10 years or so, “revenge porn” became a thing, and it was maybe one of the grossest things that you could stumble upon or have done to you. Well, as time goes on, the internet progresses and the grossness of the cesspool that is the worldwide web continues to become more and more dehumanizing and off-putting. That is what documentary Another Body focuses on, a type of revenge porn using deepfakes to superimpose someone on someone else’s body and claim it is them. This is what happened to Taylor (not her real name) as a “friend” sent her a Pornhub link that she opened and saw her own face, in a porn video that she did not make.

I don’t think there is a world where I could even begin to fathom the horrors and shock of what would happen if I opened a porn link and saw my face on a video I know, as a fact, I did not create. After acknowledging what has happened to her, Taylor decides to try and cope with what has happened as her face is now plastered all over the internet, superimposed by deepfakes in several pornographic videos that she never created, and wanted to pursue legal action. It is something so horrifying and shocking that we now have the technology to do this, and it is being used for something this insidious. When people started posting those fake Tom Hanks videos or Tom Cruise videos, it was almost in good fun, but then it became more apparent that YouTubers and content creators were being deepfaked into pornography, and also, as it appears, innocent people who weren’t social media stars who were and are being targeted for the sole purposes of revenge.

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A still from co-directors Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn’s documentary ANOTHER BODY. Photo courtesy of SXSW.

Any form of mass media that is accessible is always subjected to things that are gross and demeaning and demoralizing; it is something that just comes with the territory of having mass accessible content. It is mind-boggling that there is legislation and laws in place to protect people when their image is distributed against their will, for example Stephen Bear just got sentenced to 21 months in prison for disturbing revenge porn of a Love Island contestant, but if someone deepfakes someone, whether they’re in the limelight or not, doesn’t face consequences. Taylor admits in Another Body that when she searched her name, those videos came up. Going for job interviews, a quick Google search would show porn, despite it not actually being her. It has, and possibly will forever, affect her life, and the person responsible doesn’t get punished. It is infuriating how people can literally damage and destroy peoples’ lives, and be able to get away with it so blatantly. It is mindboggling.

Another Body wants to bring forward how damaging deepfaking is, how accessible deepfaking is to create, and the next steps that are being taken in legislature to bring the people behind the deepfakes to justice. In the documentary, Taylor talks to a lawyer who admits he had to teach and coach several dozen judges about what a deepfake was as some of them have never even heard of it. Taylor also found popular content creators that have been deepfaked into pornography as well, and together they are trying to take down the anonymous people behind the screen that seem to think doing this is okay.

ANOTHER BODY - Sophie Compton (Director) Credit Sophie Compton

ANOTHER BODY co-director Sophie Compton. photo Credit: Sophie Compton.

Another Body filmmakers Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn perfectly craft this documentary exposing the horrors of the internet and the deepfaking world we currently live in. With Taylor being the central subject that we are focused on and by sharing her story, how it affected her, and what next steps are coming to make those responsible pay for their actions, a small silver lining of justice is brought for the horrible crimes that have been committed. Another Body is truly a documentary that makes your skin crawl, and there’s no way to fake the anger that is induced from the horrors that unfolds on screen.

Screened during SXSW 2023.

For more information, head to the official SXSW Another Body webpage.

Final Score: 4 out of 5.

SXSW 2023

Categories: In Theaters, Reviews

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