Macedonian teenagers broke the code. The rest of the world faced the consequences


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DOC LA | Santa Barbara International Film Festival | San Luis Obispo International Film Festival | Dumbo Film Festival | Ridgefield Independent Film Festival

“The short, brilliant & scary doc… goes deep inside the Macedonian fake news industry and shows the truth behind the lies — and the impact it had on America. Very important!” - Walter Isaacson, Professor of American History and Values | Tulane University 

Journalism + Misinformation • Political Science • Technology + Society •  American Politics • International Studies • Democracy

Date of Completion: 2019 | Run Time: 31 minutes​​ | Language: English & Macedonian with English subtitles | Captions: Yes Includes: Transcript Director & Producer: Leslie Iwerks 

In 2016, an army of teenagers in Macedonia discovered a wildly lucrative game of posting false political clickbait news articles on Facebook for profit. By creating websites leading up to the presidential election that published sensationalized and misleading news stories about American politics, they generated a massive income and influenced the election. SELLING LIES offers a rare glimpse inside the secret network behind these websites, including one notorious ringleader whose social media reach had vast implications on American readers, and explores how disinformation campaigns continued to strongly impact the U.S. leading into the 2020 presidential election.

Video Librarian 
"While focusing on the fake news originating from Macedonia and the impact it has had on U.S. elections, this film continues to highlight the need for knowledge-seekers to evaluate the information they are consuming on a daily basis. This film will support a range of disciplinary needs and collections and will continue to find relevance as the issues of fake news and the need to determine the veracity of the information we are using will continue into the future as technology expedites the flow of data. Highly Recommended."

Tulane UniversityWalter Isaacson, Professor of American History and Values
“The short, brilliant & scary doc… goes deep inside the Macedonian fake news industry and shows the truth behind the lies — and the impact it had on America. Very important!”

Educational Media Reviews Online | Russell A. Hall, Reference and Instruction Librarian, Penn State Erie
RECOMMENDED "Selling Lies examines the fake news generated in Macedonia focusing on U.S. politics preceding the 2016 elections. Indeed, it seems ludicrous that young Macedonians could have an impact on U.S. presidential politics and possibly the outcome of that election, but producer/director Leslie Iwerks ably shows how this chain of events occurred ... [C]ould serve as a solid entry point for larger discussions on fake news and misinformation on the internet."

“What's quite possibly the most interesting thing about Selling Lies is the way that it absolutely does refrain from making a judgment on this conflict between morality and money. The different positions are put forth and the audience is left to discuss it all after the fact."


Director of SELLING LIES

Leslie Iwerks is an Academy Award and Emmy-nominated filmmaker who currently serves as the CEO and Creative Director of Santa Monica-based multimedia production company Iwerks & Co.
Iwerks’ body of work captures the genius of innovation, the rewards of creative risk, and the humanity behind enterprise. An adventure and travel enthusiast, Iwerks has filmed on all seven continents around the world.
Iwerks is the director and producer of SELLING LIES. Her other notable projects include the critically acclaimed docuseries The Imagineering Story and a portfolio of documentary feature films which highlight some of the most revered visionaries and leaders of our time (Industrial Light & Magic: Creating the Impossible, The Pixar Story, Ella Brennan: Commanding the TableThe Hand Behind the Mouse).