ANONYMOUS follows Alex Danyliuk (Callan McAuliffe), a teenager learning the ins and outs of computer programming. When his family hits financial trouble, he turns to a life of online crime and identity theft, fueled by rage at the banking institutions’ status quo.
Along the way he meets Sye (Daniel Eric Gold), a street–wise hustler who introduces him to the world of black market trading, and Kira (Lorraine Nicholson), a young hacker secretly working as an FBI mole. After quickly finding success in causing financial market chaos, they gain the attention of Z (Clifton Collins Jr.) – a mysterious, masked figure, who’s the head of an online crime group, and a number one target by the FBI.
Director Akan Satayev had this to say about ANONYMOUS,
Once I was sitting in a cafe and was approached by a young man. He said: – I know you, you are a film director, and I have an interesting idea for a film. He introduced himself and asked for 10 minutes of my time to tell his story. He was a hacker in the past, and told me how and why he became a carder/hacker, how he left for the Middle East and, with a group of friends, started to commit fraud using their computer skills. Then he was caught and spent 5 years in prison. After he returned home, he quit hacking, and now he has a family, and a small restaurant … After 10 minutes he was gone, leaving me his contact info. I had another meeting right after that, but the story of hacker did not leave my mind. Eventually, this story became the basis of our script.
The main thing I liked about this story and the reason we decided to make a film based on this story, was the relevance of the topic. The extent to which technology in the modern world develops so quickly and powerfully, yet at the same time it becomes very vulnerable. I was fascinated how any young man, who is able to master computer technology very well, can steal money from any of us, or can affect a global situation in the world.
Our main hero – Alex, moved from Ukraine to Canada with his parents when he was young. From an early age he was interested in computer games and the Internet. Step by step, he was mastering computer skills, and right after high school graduation, joined an online hacking organization. He gets acquainted with new friends who share a common interest, they start committing a lot of crimes, while at the same time, sincerely believing that they have a noble mission – to improve the world! But, the understanding that “while destroying it is impossible to build” – comes later. They need to be responsible for their actions.
This is the first film that I shot in America. We had an excellent and professional team; great and talented actors and we filmed in beautiful locations: Toronto, New York, Hong Kong and Bangkok. For me, the production of ANONYMOUS (previously titled Hacker) was a great school and I got great pleasure and an invaluable experience.
This is a very interesting and cautionary story, and I hope we can truthfully tell it from the screen.
ANONYMOUS opens in theaters Friday, December 2.