The Canadian Centre for Child Protection Introduces the Largest Unwanted Film Festival Unveiling the True Scale of Online Child Sexual Abuse Material

Featuring difficult titles inspired by real survivor accounts, the initiative harnesses the power of AI to spark action following a 30 per cent increase in child sexual abuse material after more than 85 million pieces of content reported last year

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Today, the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) unveiled The Unwanted Film Festival; the world’s largest festival which never ends, plays in plain sight, and features children forcibly turned into public figures. 

The festival, which launches as New York City’s Tribeca Film Festival winds down, leverages the power of AI to create 85 million movie posters, representing each piece of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) reported in 2021. When all 85 million pieces of CSAM are added together they make up more content than all the world’s film festivals combined. The spectacle aims to spark a necessary change following a 30 per cent increase in CSAM content from 2020 to 2021 – that is one piece of CSAM being uploaded every two seconds. 

The titles and taglines are taken from real CSAM survivor accounts of how this material has profoundly affected all aspects of their lives, and how its continued availability only compounds the trauma and threatens their safety.

“It’s hard to describe what it feels like to know that at any given moment someone somewhere is looking at images of me as a child being sexually abused and getting sick gratification from it. It’s like I’m being abused over and over and over again. How can you allow survivors to be revictimized day after day? How can I heal from this while these crimes keep happening to me? Help us build a safer today for the children of tomorrow.” – CSAM survivor

The initiative aims to capture global attention and demand all tech organizations and governments to step up. Currently, there are no Western democracies, including Canada, that C3P is aware of that have legislated that tech must proactively scan for known CSAM.

“We are now paying the price for decades of neglect and inaction from tech companies around the world – which has cost countless victims and survivors their safety, dignity, and privacy,” says Lianna McDonald, Executive Director of C3P. “The Unwanted Film Festival is a global wake-up call about the failures to adequately address the festering CSAM epidemic on the internet.”

The Unwanted Film Festival brings awareness to the prevalence of CSAM online and the speed at which it is growing globally. Kicking off with a two-day installation in New York, and available globally at unwantedfilmfest.com, the experience generates film posters every two seconds to reflect the rate at which CSAM was uploaded online in 2021, much of which can be found on platforms we use every day. 

The Unwanted Film Festival posters are being displayed in the five most spoken languages around the world: English, French, Mandarin, Hindi, and Spanish to reflect this global issue. Additionally, titles will be featured in German as the festival travels to the G7 conference in Germany, bringing the urgent issue to its international leaders who are in the position to make change. Finally, the festival will wrap up in Toronto for the Toronto International Film Festival in the fall. 

Now is the time to slow the rampant escalation of CSAM which, if it continues at this growth rate, could reach upwards of 110 million reported images by the end of 2022. To learn more and join the fight, the public can demand change by visiting unwantedfilmfest.com to sign the petition to stand with survivors and demand that tech organizations stop the upload of known CSAM around the globe. 

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