Synopsis: “Influence” is a profile of the morally slippery British reputation manager, Lord Timothy Bell. Born into a working-class family, Bell climbed his way to the heights of global power, first spinning Margaret Thatcher into the “Iron Lady”, then working for the successors of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet; later branching out into France, Africa, Russia, the Middle East and elsewhere. In 1998, Bell co-founded the PR firm Bell Pottinger, earning a reputation for representing even the most unsavoury characters, regardless of circumstances. “Influence” examines how Bell and his associates shaped and co-opted the very institutions on which our governance systems are premised.
First-time Co-Director's Biography Richard Poplak is an award-winning author, journalist, and filmmaker. He has become one of the most widely read and controversial political journalists in South Africa, editing at large for Daily Maverick. Poplak has reported from over 30 developing countries for news outlets across the world, and he was part of a team that won the prestigious Global Shining Light Award for investigative journalism.
First-time Co-Director's Biography: Diana Neille is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker from Johannesburg, South Africa. A 2011 alumna of Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, Neille has subsequently co-founded two media startups with the intention of fostering long-form investigative storytelling and documentary filmmaking at a time when journalism is facing unprecedented challenges globally.