The End of Trust



The End of Trust is a feature-length documentary film that's currently in production. Our goal is to release the film in 2022. The project tackles disinformation and encourages critical thinking by diving into Deep Fakes. We're asking the question: Who do you trust when you can't believe what you see?

Found Footage Teaser


A CEO’s AI-faked voice convinces his CFO to wire millions of dollars to scammers; a mysterious video of Gabon’s president triggers a coup; a demagogue claims the person saying racial slurs on video isn’t him, it’s manipulated — welcome to the age of DeepFakes, where nothing is what it seems.

Scrolling through obscure subreddits one night in 2017, journalist Samantha Cole made a shocking discovery. A poster calling himself “deepfakes" was sharing AI-powered “face-swap porn” with a famous actress’s face transposed onto the body of a porn star. Chatting with the poster, Cole learned with horror that he was about to release FaceApp, open source software for face-swaps that would allow anyone to create their own fake porn — or make anyone appear to say pretty much anything.


In the years since, the world has been rocked by a steady stream of new and more outrageous DeepFakes. Like Photoshop on steroids, DeepFakes make convincing fake video and audio accessible to anyone with a computer. Enabled by GANs — an AI technique called Generative Adversarial Networks in which two machine learning algorithms help each other learn — and massive, cheap computing power, DeepFakes redefine fakery and add new dimensions to illusion. Download an open source program, follow a few tutorials on YouTube, and make your celebrity of choice do and say whatever you want. They’ve been used to create millions of nonconsensual porn videos along with countless parodies, scams, and fakes of all kinds. They’ve been used to intimidate journalists, extort money, and overthrow governments, as well as more benign uses for humor and to protect sources’ identities. But each time these videos trick us — and even when they don’t — they do something else: they teach us not to trust our eyes and ears, shaking our world to the core.

THE END OF TRUST dives deep into the seedy underbelly of the Internet to bring the history of DeepFakes to life. Through the journalists who exposed the phenomenon, sleuths and scientists who track and unmask the fakes, victims whose lives are forever changed and artists putting DeepFakes to work for good, the film tells the story of a revolutionary technique with enormous potential — and even greater dangers. As philosopher Regina Rini puts it, we don’t even realize how much we need to trust our perceptions for society to function. Our ability to recognize other people has allowed humanity to cooperate, form civilizations, and become the dominant species on the planet. But what happens to society when identity can be easily faked? As the algorithms driving DeepFakes get ever better, cheaper, and easier to use, THE END OF TRUST asks what a post-trust world might mean and how we can shape it for the better.

The Team


Basil Shadid: Executive Producer / Director

Basil Shadid is a documentary filmmaker whose credits include Academy Award nominated, Emmy winning, and Audience award winning films. Recent titles include Angels Are Made of Light by director James Longley and Drag Becomes Him by director Alex Berry. Basil has a passion for storytelling and bridging communities. Previous projects have taken him across six continents. Basil holds an MA in Mental Health Counseling and a propensity for adventure.


Baylee Sinner: Producer

Baylee Sinner started as a one-woman-band 11 years ago. Once the camera gear got too heavy for one girl to carry, her career evolved into writing commercials, and then producing and directing for clients like Amazon, Microsoft, the Seattle Seahawks, and more. By day she creates branded content, and by night, her enthusiasm drives her to create music videos, feature-length and short documentaries, narrative films, and more.


Alex Perrault: Producer / Director

Alex brings the benefit of 20 years of expertise to his work – be it documentary, broadcast, advertising, corporate or web. An Emmy-nominated editor, clients include the Gates Foundation, PBS, Discovery, A&E, National Geographic, Amazon, Microsoft, and Disney. His documentary work has been featured in festivals around the world, including Hot Docs and SXSW, and can currently be seen on Netflix.


Cecilia Butler: Associate Producer

Cecilia's love of storytelling began when she was just six years old when her mom handed her a tape recorder and let her run wild (in the local grocery store, that is). After interning with the NPR affiliate station, WYSO, she set out to continue helping creators make non-fiction projects that sought to inspire, change and challenge. Cecilia is the Associate Producer for UnScarred, directed by Elise Jaffe (in-production), and works as a production coordinator for brands and non-profits.



Looker, science fiction film by Michael Crichton lightly alludes to the idea of deepfake technology


Technology scientists create “Video Rewrite” - the use of existing footage to create automatically new video of a person mouthing words that she did not speak in the original footage.


Video Rewrite uses computer-vision techniques to track points on the speaker’s mouth in the training footage. (Video Rewrite of JFK above.)

The eigenpoint models tell us the positions of points on the lips and jaw.



Active Appearance Models - software with more efficient face matching


Creation of a GAN (Generative Adversarial Network) which is the tech that makes a DeepFake possible


Face2Face: Real-time Face Capture and Reenactment of RGB Videos


Real time facial recognition - 2016



University of Washington synthesized high quality video of President Barack Obama

Reddit User “@DeepFakes” starts publishing deepfake porn on Reddit

  • The term “Deepfake” is coined
  • Who is the user behind“DeepFakes”?

Public attention surrounding deepfakes increasing — Scarlett Johansson deepfake porn video released

A nongovernmental organization created a video of Javier Arturo Valdez Cárdenas, a Mexican journalist who was murdered in 2017, in which he appeared to call for justice for his own murder


“Trained on many hours of his weekly address footage, a recurrent neural network learns the mapping from raw audio features to mouth shapes.”



Misinformation becomes increasingly problematic — 1/5 Internet Users receive their news from YouTube in 2018

FakeApp launched by anonymous reddit user — first public deepfake application

April 20: Buzzfeed & Jordan Peele release a deepfake that warns against misinformation, starring Obama - 8.6 million views

May 2018: Belgian socialist party circulates ‘deep fake’ Donald Trump video

June 3: DeepFaceLab (App) Created

June 21: UK Government adds bill amendment to prosecute Deepfakes

August 17: Everybody Dance Now, a project at UC Berkeley uses AI-Based Motion Transfer

The parents of Joaquin Oliver, a 17-year-old who was murdered in the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., in 2018, digitally resurrected him for a video promoting gun safety legislation


Celebrity Emma Watson on FakeApp

President Obama - Video by Buzzfeed

President Trump - Video by Belgian socialist party



June: DeepNude, an app that take an image of a fully clothed woman and remove her clothes to create nonconsensual porn, was released by an anonymous programmer

July: Deepfake porn is illegal in Virginia

August: DARPA taking steps to create technology that will detect deepfake media

August 10: The Democratic Party deepfaked its own chairman to highlight 2020 concerns

November: China makes it illegal to publish deepfakes

Deep Trace found that currently there are 14,678 deepfake videos online, 96% of which are pornographic

Audio deepfakes scams result in the loss of millions of dollars for companies

Facebook refuses to take down a manipulated video on Nancy Pelosi

Facebook and Microsoft launch a 10 million dollar detection challenge, other social media companies follow with their own plans to prevent deepfakes from spreading misinformation

In Gabon, opposition leaders argued that a video of President Ali Bongo Ondimba giving a New Year’s address in 2019 was a deepfake - created to cover up health problems. A week after his first video address, there was an attempted coup.


“While many people in Washington might have recognized a difference in Perez’s voice, the audience at Def Con largely appeared not to.”

Celebrity face swaps are becoming increasingly popular and easier to create



Disney is working on deepfake technology to improve quality on the big screen at megapixel resolution

Facebook announced the results of a competition where experts built new algorithms to detect deepfakes — the winner was able to detect 82 percent of the AI-altered media they were exposed to

Documentary, Welcome to Chechyna, uses deepfake to protect the subjects featured in the film

Winnie Heartstrong , a Republican candidate for a House seat in the St. Louis area claimed that the video of George Floyd’s death in police custody had been digitally staged.

Microsoft announced the release “ Microsoft Video Authenticator,” technology aimed to defect deepfakes

Snapchat acquired AI Factory, an image and video recognition start-up

Journalist Rana Ayyub is the victim of a deepfake porn campaign intended to silence her reporting


Deepfake stills created by Disney Research

Lynda Carter (1970s Wonder Woman) deepfake

Volunteers allowed their faces to be filmed and mapped onto the faces of anonymous survivors



Tom Cruise deepfake Tik Tok goes viral - creator calls for regulation

MyHeritage, a genealogy website, offered a tool to digitally animate old photographs of loved ones

DeepFaceLab, the programme used, can only replace the target’s face below the forehead, but Stanford University has achieved a method of transferring an entire 3D head

MyHeritage, a genealogy website, offered a tool to digitally animate old photographs of loved ones

DeepFake Amazon workers posed as anti-union workers to break up the idea of a union prior to the first vote for unionization

Researchers at Standford have created a new software tool that allows users to edit the transcript of a video



Want to get involved in the making of ‘The End of Trust’?