The critically acclaimed debut feature from The Atlantic, White Noise, is the definitive inside story of the alt-right, following Richard Spencer, Lauren Southern, and Mike Cernovich as they ride a wave of racist ideas to viral fame. Even as the movement breaks into the mainstream, it fractures, leaving its leaders to grapple with backlash, infighting, and self-doubt.
Director: Daniel Lombroso
Producer: Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg
Executive Producers: Jeffrey Goldberg,
Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg
Editor: Carlos Rojas Felice
Music: Gil Talmi
Sound Design: Gisela Fullà-Silvestre
Head of Production: Ashley Kenny
Associate Producer: Brianna Pressey
PRAISE FOR WHITE NOISE
“LIVELY AND DISTURBING. Lombroso did his homework, embedding himself with these people for several years, so that he won their trust and became privy to their private lives. White Noise is a deadly serious movie, but it is also, in a certain way, a funny one, because it captures the comedy of how much trouble even the influencers of hate now have squaring their lives with their belief systems. It takes reality to create characters as rivetingly contemptible as these.” – Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“FASCINATING, OUTRAGEOUS. White Noise is an expertly edited, four-year immersion into a phenomenon that has shaped the volatile politics of our time.” – Peter Keough, Boston Globe
“EXCELLENT. White Noise is a great and illuminating film, far more engaging and smart than most journalistic profiles of each of these people. But here’s the most striking realization, by the end: This is a portrait of loud, proud, opportunistic grifters — less ideologues than people who’ve figured out how to game the system to get the most eyeballs (and, very importantly, money).” – Alissa Wilkinson, Vox
“RIVETING. A profusion of political documentaries have been released leading up to this year’s exhausting presidential election. Here’s one of the best — a riveting, fly-on-the-wall observation of three high-profile, far-right provocateurs. Daniel Lombroso’s feature —the first released by The Atlantic Monthly’s production company — follows anti-feminist YouTube sensation Lauren Southern, white nationalist Richard Spencer and men’s right activist and conspiracy theorist Mike Cernovich as they incite others while building their respective fan bases. It’s one of the most important — and scariest — documentaries of 2020.” – Randy Myers, San Jose Mercury News
“GRADE: A. A queasily riveting documentary that puts the audience far closer than comfort to some of the worst people in the world, White Noise builds a template for how in the modern media landscape, the need to confront and make noise can overlap with greed and narcissism to create deadly results. Rather than present a sweeping portrait of the alt-right, he shrewdly picks three of its showier spokespeople—Richard Spencer, Lauren Southern, and Mike Cernovic—and follows what happens as infamy, infighting, and the consequences of their hate speech takes its toll on both its progenitors and the world they inflict themselves on.” – Chris Barsanti, The Playlist
“THE SCARIEST DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR. White Noise has a compelling message at its core, by daring viewers to see the worst of our society, and cautioning against the tendency to simply tuning it out.” - Eric Kohn, Indiewire
“LURIDLY FASCINATING. The intimate portrait of these shameless provocateurs sheds a much-needed spotlight, especially for those who remain ignorant of the most rabid right-wing media.” – Frank Scheck, The Hollywood Reporter
“White Noise, the first feature-length documentary from The Atlantic, often plays more like it was sprung from the mind of Christopher Guest.’ – Lauren Wissot, Filmmaker Magazine
“A SCATHING DAMNATION OF WHITE SUPREMACY AND HYPOCRISY. A more timely documentary there might not be the rest of this year. Among the year’s best movies.” – Eric Althoff, Screen Comment
“CAREFUL, EXPERTLY DEVELOPED. Lombroso’s strategy is patient, and ruthless. He listens to these racists, spending long periods with them to better understand their lifestyles. We slowly start to see that they all kind of hate and resent each other; these fissures are at the heart of this movement’s moral and intellectual rot.” – Alan Zilberman, Brightest Young Things
“WHITE NOISE CHILLED ME TO THE BONE. Director Daniel Lombroso takes a very clear-eyed approach to the subject, utilizing unprecedented access to show the movement for what it is – an effort to launch a full-on culture war, driven by people whose anger and media savvy is matched by their opportunism.” – Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle Seat
“There have been several documentaries made about the ideological conditions that laid the ground for the Trump era, but White Noise may be the most illuminating.” – Stephen Silver, Splice Today
“White Noise is a patient, probing piece of work that spends three years embedded with some of the worst people on the planet, careful never to editorialize nor take any cheap shots, instead allowing them plenty of room to expose the stupidity and emptiness of their ideas all on their own.” – Sean Burns, North Shore Movies
ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY
One week after the 2016 presidential election, white nationalists gathered in Washington, D.C., to celebrate. “Hail Trump! Hail our people!” Richard Spencer said from the podium to cheers and Nazi salutes. The Atlantic’s cameras captured exclusive footage of this moment, and the clip was shared widely, on news networks and social-media platforms around the world.
White Noise, The Atlantic’s first feature documentary, is the result of a four-year commitment to investigating and exposing the roots of rising white nationalism in the U.S. and abroad. The magazine has covered race in America for more than a century. “The Atlantic was founded by abolitionists in the 1850s to argue for justice and equality, and this documentary fits squarely within our core mission,” says Jeffrey Goldberg, editor in chief. White Noise brings the rigor of long-form magazine reporting to the big screen through immersive, cinematic storytelling. Director Daniel Lombroso and the Atlantic Studios production team worked closely with The Atlantic’s newsroom, following the magazine’s standard practices for reporting, fact-checking, and reviewing countless edits.
The result is a deeply reported journey through the underbelly of the alt-right, bringing viewers an unfiltered, clear-eyed look at extremism that cuts through the artifice and hype. This film joins the magazine’s tradition of long-form reporting on racism, from Frederick Douglass’s 1866 “Reconstruction,” to Luke O’Brien’s 2017 “The Making of an American Nazi,” to Adam Serwer’s 2019 “White Nationalism’s Deep American Roots.” The past four years have shown that even as the alt-right fractures and reinvents itself, the ideas it has unleashed have succeeded in poisoning mainstream political discourse and shaping the direction of the country. White Noise is essential viewing for anyone who wants to understand and address this urgent reality.