Portland German Film Festival Monthly Film Series presents THE CLEANERS


In our Monthly Film Series, we will show a variety of GERMAN or GERMAN language films from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. On the 2nd Wednesday of each month, audiences will now have a chance to see these films on a regular basis at the CLINTON STREET THEATER. (Children movies will be playing on Sunday afternoons – please check our website.) All films are with English subtitles.

Portland German Film Festival Monthly Film Series presents THE CLEANERS




After we had to halt our monthly film series in April 2020 due to COVID-19 and closures of all movie theaters, we will be back on Wednesday, May 12, 2021!

You need to purchase your ticket in advance! There will be limited seating available due to opening restrictions.

Hans Block, Moritz Riesewieck
Germany | Brazil | Netherlands | Italy | USA | Japan | UK | Sweden | Austria | Switzerland | Denmark | Canada
88 minutes

When you post something on the web, can you be sure it stays there? Enter a hidden shadow industry of digital cleaning, where the Internet rids itself of what it doesn’t like. Who is controlling what we see… and what we think?

The big Internet companies, not all which can properly be described “social media,” are drowning in the unending flood of online content. From hate mail to pornography, from depictions of child abuse to manipulated war pictures used for propaganda, the necessity for preventive action is growing – if only to avoid damaging one’s own public image. As a rule, however, this task is not normally performed by the corporations themselves: “outsourcing” is the cheapest solution as well as the most comfortable – and the contracted companies are also responsible for any corresponding mistakes. The result is that in Manila, for example, an untold number of poorly trained and quickly psychologically-impacted “moderators” sit long hours in front of their computer screens and, in accordance to highly schematic and American criteria, use the delete key to wage war against objectionable content on the Internet. The documentary focus of THE CLEANERS is primarily on the work they do, but also looks at the related debate in the USA.


Hans Block was born in 1985 in Berlin. Initially a music student, he then studied direction at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts and subsequently did directorial work at the BOX studio of the Frankfurt Schauspiel theater. In 2015, his audio drama “Don Don Don Quijote – Attackéee” was awarded the Prix Marulic. His first feature-length documentary, THE CLEANERS, co-directed with Moritz Riesewieck, premiered in 2018 at the Sundance Film Festival.

Moritz Riesewieck was born in 1985, grew up in the Ruhr, and studied at the Ernst Busch Academy of Dramatic Arts (Berlin). Directorial internships followed at the Volksbühne (Berlin), the Thalia Theater (Hamburg), and the Schaubühne (Berlin). In 2014, at the invitation of the Goethe Institute, he staged Georg Büchner’s “Woyzeck” in Mexico City. In 2015, his innovative works won him the Ela Neumann Scholarship. His first feature-length documentary, THE CLEANERS, co-directed with Hans Block, premiered in 2018 at the Sundance Film Festival. Riesewieck’s book of essays, “Digital Dirty Work”, was published in conjunction with the film’s release.

7.2/10 IMDb

93% Rotten Tomatoes

Docudays UA International Documentary Human Rights Film Festival 2019

Winner -- RIGHTS NOW! (documentaries about the currently relevant examples of the struggle for human rights) Best Film

“For encouraging discussion about privacy, freedom of choice and human rights protection in the world where the internet and social media take up ever more of our private space, and we ourselves become a part of the global network. Where is the balance between the desire to protect the society from cruel content which incited hate and the freedom of choice and self-expression? Will the internet of the future be an instrument in the hands of dictators and global corporations, or a territory of boundless democracy and individual freedoms? Who has the right to define what should be “ignored” and what should be “deleted”? The film raises many questions to which the humanity has yet to find the answers.”

International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights 2018

Gilda Vieira de Mello Award, Creative Documentaries Competition
Hans Block (Director)
Moritz Riesewieck (Director)
Gebrueder Beetz Filmproduktion (production comany)
Grifa Filmes (production company)

German Directors Award 2018

Best Director Documentary
Hans Block
Moritz Riesewieck