Shadow World

Shadow World

November 20, 2017


Johan Grimonprez , Andrew Feinstein , and Anadil Hossain

Explore the shocking realities of the billion-dollar global arms trade through those who perpetrate and investigate it.


About the Documentary

From Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama, from Margaret Thatcher to Tony Blair, Shadow World reveals the shocking realities of the global arms trade, the only business that counts its profits in billions and its losses in human lives. Based on The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, the acclaimed book by Andrew Feinstein, the film explores how governments, their militaries and intelligence agencies, defense contractors, arms dealers and agents are inextricably intertwined with the international trade in weapons, and how that trade fosters corruption, determines economic and foreign policies, undermines democracies and creates human suffering.

Through the insights of whistleblowers, investigators, prosecutors, journalists, military and industry insiders, Shadow World unravels a number of the world’s largest and most corrupt arms deals. It illustrates how the global arms trade operates in a parallel legal universe, in which the national security elite who drive it are seldom prosecuted for their often-illegal actions. Ultimately the film reveals the real costs of war, the way the arms trade drives it, and how a defense industry that is supposed to enhance security instead gives us the exact opposite: a more dangerous world.

Shadow World features compelling interviews from a wide swath of experts, including: Chris Hedges, former New York Times war correspondent; Franklin C. Spinney, former Pentagon military analyst; Cynthia McKinney, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives; Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell; and Wesley Clark, U.S. Army (retired), Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (1997-2000); among others.

The Filmmakers

Johan Grimonprez

Johan Grimonprez (Director) is a Belgian artist and filmmaker who achieved international acclaim for his documentary film dial H-I-S-T-O-R-Y (1997), a collaboration with author Don DeLillo that tells the story of air hijackings since the 1970s and how this changed news reporting. With its premiere at Centre Pompidou and Documenta X in Kassel, Germany, in 1997, the film eerily foreshadowed the events of September 11, and analyzed compellingly how the media participates in the construction of our perceived reality. In 2009, Grimonprez made Double Take, which targets the global rise of ‘fear-as-commodity.’ It premiered at Sundance and Berlin, and traveled the international film festival circuit, winning several Best Director awards, the Black Pearl Award in Abu Dhabi, and the New Media Grand Prize in LA. His film and curatorial projects have been exhibited at museums worldwide, including the Hammer Museum (LA), Pinakothek der Moderne (Munich), and MoMA (NY). His works are part of the permanent collections of numerous major museums, including the Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris), the Kanazawa Art Museum (Japan) and Tate Modern (London). In 2011, Hatje Cantz Verlag published a reader on his work entitled “It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards” with contributions by Jodi Dean, Thomas Elsaesser, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Slavoj Žižek. Grimonprez divides his time between Brussels and New York, where he now lectures at the School of Visual Arts. In 2012, Cinema Scope named him one of the “Best 50 Filmmakers Under 50” in the world.

Andrew Feinstein

Andrew Feinstein, author of The Shadow World: Inside the Global Arms Trade, is one of the world's leading experts on corruption and the global arms trade. A frequent commentator on BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera, and The Guardian, his writing has been published by The New York Times, Der Spiegel, the Huffington Post, and many others. As the author of the book on which the film is based, he guided the production team on the contemporary issues and history addressed in the film. Andrew is founding director of Corruption Watch UK, and is a former ANC Member of Parliament from South Africa where he served under Nelson Mandela.

Anadil Hossain

Anadil Hossain is an international producer with extensive expertise in the development and production of feature films, documentaries, short format content focused on cross-cultural themes. She co-founded Dillywood with Driss Benyaklef, overseeing productions for award-winning directors Doug Liman (Fair Game), Wes Anderson (The Darjeeling Limited), Mira Nair (The Namesake, The Reluctant Fundamentalist) Karan Johar (Kal Ho Naa Ho, Kabhie Alvida Naa Kehna), Ashutosh Gowariker (Swades, What’s Your Raashee?), Rakeysh Mehra (Delhi 6). Anadil most recently co-produced Mira Nair’s international thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist, which opened the Venice Film Festival in 2012. Dillywood is currently co-producing the feature documentary, The Message with Louverture Films, Avi Lewis, and Naomi Klein.


  • Edinburgh International Film Festival

    Best Documentary Feature Film

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Join the Discussion

How much does the arms trade story depicted in Shadow World shock you? Do you think leaders of the Western world, whatever their leanings, will always be caught up in the arms trade?


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