Tuesday 21 March 2017
Extradition to the US could mean life in prison; this is the story of a family fighting against the most powerful State on earth.
The film makers, Lauri Danska and Raimo Uunila, originally set out to make a film on the technical aspects of computer hacking, and Lauri Love’s work of Hacker House, where he used his computer skills to improve security for the organisation’s clients.
Once underway, however, the story took a different turn, and the result is a film that captures the harrowing impact of Britain’s one-sided extradition treaty on an ordinary family, and their extraordinary son.
The film makers, who set up a production company, Grape Productions, just a year ago, have stayed with the family, and have gradually come to understand Lauri Love, through long conversations with his sister, Natasha.
Lauri knows lots of people, but has no best friends, his mother Sirkka-Liisa confides. He doesn’t talk much about his feelings or emotions, making him hard for other people to fathom.
“Lauri is quite different to most of us. He is very much in his own world, and it is difficult for other people to see what he is dealing with,” says Danska. “Looking back on it, I think he is struggling to find his place in life,” says Raimo.
They hope the 50-minute film, shown on Finland’s main TV channel, will raise Love’s profile in Finland, where the case has attracted some press interest, and perhaps help in his fight against extradition.
The film is necessarily one-sided. The US did not put forward any evidence in court and declined to make any officials available for interview. Neither did the UK’s National Crime Agency. If there is a flaw with the film, it is that it skips over the allegations against Love and the court decisions rather too quickly.
The UK legal system bars filming in court, so we learn through snatches of conversations and tweets just what it is that Lauri Love is facing. But it can be difficult to follow for those not familiar with the case.
Danska and Raimo made the film over the course of a year, travelling between Finland and the UK about once a month to shoot the footage. The documentary is in English, though at points Lauri Love speaks to the audience in Finnish. Now Danska and Raimo are seeking financing for a follow-up documentary that could be shown more widely, potentially in the UK and the US.
“We just followed him. The audience can decide what they make of him. That is the only thing we have really. I hope people can make up their own minds,” says Danska.
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