Shadow World

Shadow World

  • BY Johan Grimonprez | IN War & Military
    Premiered November 20, 2017

About the Film

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. MORE

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 Filmmaker

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.

The Author

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. LESS

Film Credits

A Film by Johan Grimonprez

A Dillywood and Louverture Films Production

Co-Produced by
Onomatopee Films
Final Cut for Real

In Association With
Fork Films

Based on the Book
The Shadow World
By Andrew Feinstein

Stories Written & Read By
Eduardo Galeano

Directed by
Johan Grimonprez

Director of Photography
Nicole Mackinlay Hahn

Edited by
Per K. Kirkegaard
Pedro Collantes De Teran Bayonas
Dieter Diependaele

Story by
Johan Grimonprez
Andrew Feinstein

Original Music by
Karsten Fundal

Produced by
Joslyn Barnes
Anadil Hossain

Signe Byrge Sørensen
Emmy Oost

Executive Producers
Abigail Disney
Danny Glover
Driss Benyaklef
Sally Jo Fifer
Lois Vossen

Co-Executive Producers
Michael J. Zak
Jodie Evans
Matthew Palevsky
Susan Rockefeller

Consulting Producer
Jakob Kirstein Høgel

Archival Producers
Judy Aley
Mridu Chandra

Production Managers
Geraldine Schubert
Pulkit Datta
Ashish Sehgal

Production Coordinator
Josie Chai

Assistant Director
Sarah D'hanens

Production Manager / Editing Assistant Denmark
Maria Kristensen

Additional Camera
Johannes De Bruycker
Karel De Cock
Anastas Michos
Bruno Sorrentino
Simone Sultana
Alex Szombath

Location Sound Recordists
Andrew Brzozowski
Tammy Douglas
Michael Wynne

Additional Editing
Michael Aaglund
Charles Godin
Tyler Hubby
Maarten Janssens
Ian Olds

Assistant Editors
Karel De Kock
Sarah D'hanens
Kareem Farooq
Brittany Kaplan
Ásta Soffia Pétursdottir

Lead Researcher
Paul Holden

Archival Researchers
Rebecca Kent
Lewanne Jones

Production Assistants
Kyle Nicholas
Margaret Parsons

Production Assistant Belgium
Magalie Dierick

Sound & Picture Post Production Services
Harbor Picture Company

Motion Graphics & Titles
Harold Moss

Music Supervisor
Nancie Stern

Post-Production Supervisor
Mridu Chandra

Post-Production Consultant Denmark
Anders V. Christensen

Production Counsel
Iddo Arad

Fair Use Attorneys
Melissa Georges
Debra Mayer

Legal Advice, United Kingdom
David Hirst

Legal Advice, Belgium
Herman Croux, Jari Vrebos

Tax Accountant
Douglas Burack

D.R. Reiff & Associates
Ace Insurance

Archival Materials Courtesy of
ABC News
ABCNews Videosource
Al Jazeera
Julio Alonso
Associated Press
Bae Systems
British Aerospace
British Pathe
Brook Lapping
William Burrell
Bundesarchive, CC-by-SA 3.0
CBS News
Channel 4
Corbis Images
Commonwealth Club of California
Democracy Now!
Edese Doret
Evan Fairbanks
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Fox News
Free to Choose Network
George Bush Presidential Library
Getty Images
Global Leaks
Gum Films
Guardian News & Media Ltd
Harvard University School of Public Health
Heritage Foundation
The Independent
Iraqi Media Network
Iskra/bruno Muel
ITN Source
Johan Grimonprez
Joanne Sawicki and Gina Boon
Journeyman TV
Lockheed Martin
Margaret Thatcher Foundation
Media Town
MPI Media
Mint Press
MIT Technology and Culture
Muntazer Al-Zaidi
NBC Universal
Nobel Media
NBC Universal Archives
News Exposure
Parliamentary Recording Unit
Pawel Kuczynski
Rafael Industries
The Real News Network
Ronald Reagan Library
Russia Today
S2S Productions
Saudi TV
Something Weird Video
Time Inc.
TVO/The Agenda
United States Department of Defense
United States Senate
Universidad De Deusto
Wazee Digital/CBS News
Wgbh Media Library & Archives
The White House
William Ross
Exclusive Interview With Prince Bandar Courtesy of Frontline

Story Selections By Eduardo Galeano Courtesy of
Public Lecture At Universidad De Deusto En San Sebastián-donostia.
Copyright © May 31, 2012 By Eduardo Galeano. All Rights Reserved.

“June 26, The Kingdom of Fear”
“March 20, The World Upside Down”
“February 8, General Smooch”
From Children Of The Days. Copyright © 2013 By Eduardo Galeano.
English Translation Copyright © 2013 By Mark Fried.
Published By Nation Books, a Member of The Perseus Book Group.
Originally Published in the Spanish Language as Los Hijos De Los Dias In 2012
By Siglo Xxi Editores (Argentina) And Ediciones Del Chanchito (Uruguay).

“Lost and Found”
From Mirrors. Copyright © 2009 By Eduardo Galeano.
English Translation Copyright © 2009 By Mark Fried.
Published By Nation Books, A Member Of The Perseus Book Group.
Originally Published In The Spanish Language As Espejos In 2008
By Siglo Xxi Editores (Argentina And Ediciones Del Chanchito (Uruguay).

All excerpts from Eduardo Galeano's works are, in Spanish, by permission of Eduardo Galeano, Dr. Eduardo De Freitas and Siglo XXI and, in English, by permission of Dr. Eduardo De Freitas and Susan Bergholz Literary Services, New York, NY and Lamy, NM. All Rights Reserved.


“Let's Dance Together”
WOM-0140 (#10)
Written By: Paul Reeves
Music Courtesy Of Apm Music

“Song Of The Baltic Sea”
MAT 231A #18
Written By: Johan Wallner (Stim)
Publisher: Primetime Productions Ltd (PRS)
Courtesy Of Killer Tracks

“Midnight Soul”
CM 89 #6
Written By: Stephan Sechi (ASCAP)
Publisher: Soundcast Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Killer Tracks

“My Way”
Written By: Paul Anka
Publisher: Chrysalis Standards/architectural
Music/Jingoro Music (BMI)
Audio From “Spitting Image” Performed By
Steve Nallon.
Courtesy Of Steven Nallon And Spitting
Image Productions/itv Studios.

“Manha De Carnival”
Performed By Astrud Gilberto
Written By: Luiz Bonfa & Antonio Maria
Chappell & Co, Inc. O/B/O Les Nouvelles
Editions Meridian (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Verve Music Group Under License From Universal Music Ent.

“Rule Brittania”
KPM-0073 (#3)
Composer Unknown, Arranger Edrich Siebert
Music Courtesy of APM Music

“New Image”
KPMK-1077 (#3)
Written By: Keith Mansfield
Music Courtesy of APM Music

“Smooth Nylons”
SOHOA-0108 (#31)
Written By: Kenny Salmon
Music Courtesy of APM Music

“Change The World”
MAT 243 #6
Written By: Henrik Wikstrom (Stim) And
Steve Martin [prs]
Publisher: Primetime Productions Ltd (PRS)
Courtesy of Killer Tracks

“Ruffles & Flourishes, Hail to the Chief”
KT 74 #5
Written By: Mark Winter (ASCAP)
Publisher: Soundcast Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of Killer Tracks

In Memoriam
Eduardo Galeano 1940-2015

Special Thanks
Brenda Coughlin

Fiscal Sponsor
Sustainable Markets Foundation

Funding Provided by
Bertha Foundation
Vital Projects Fund
Flanders Audiovisual Fund
Don Rubin
Danish Film Institute
Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program
Threshold Foundation’s High Impact Documentary Fund
Britdoc Circle Fund
Wallace Action Fund
RTBF Television Belge-unite Documentaries
VRT/Canvas Belgium
Gucci Tribeca Documentary Fund
Gus Tai
Joseph Biao
Angela Seay
David Steele Living Trust

Shadow World is a co-production of Dillywood, Louverture Films, Final Cut for Real, Onomatopee Films and The Independent Television Service (ITVS), in association with Fork Films and Zap-o-matik, with Funding Provided by The Corporation For Public Broadcasting (CPB).

This program was produced by Shadow World Productions, LLC which is solely responsible for its content.

© 2016 Shadow World Productions, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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?


  • Edinburgh International Film Festival
    Best Documentary Feature Film
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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?