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New document examines mysterious rise and fall of Vancouver cryptocurrency CEO Gerald Cotten

By on December 29, 2021 0


Filmmaker Sheona McDonald on Dead Man’s Switch: A Crypto Mystery, her new documentary on the mystery surrounding Gerald Cotten, CEO of the failed Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX

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Dead Man’s Switch: a crypto mystery

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When: January 2

Or: Radio-Canada

Sheona McDonald has worked in the Canadian film and television industry as a writer, producer and director for over two decades. Her films include Candice, about pioneering adult film director Candida Royale, and A Short Essay on Men, about the definition of masculinity in today’s world and what it means to raise boys to be. they are good men.

We spoke to local filmmaker about Dead Man’s Switch: A Crypto Mystery, her new documentary about the mystery surrounding Gerald Cotten, CEO of the failing Vancouver-based cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX.

Q: One of your recent documentaries was Candice, about adult film pioneer Candida Royale. How did you get interested in its history?

A: I made a movie called CBC Inside Her Sex about female sexuality and shame. But it started out originally as women as porn end users, so I was talking to erotic movie stars. I met her in New York. And afterwards, she told me, I always wanted to find a filmmaker to tell my story. Will you do it? So I signed up and agreed to work with her. I finished it after he passed away in 2015. We’re both strong personalities, so it was an interesting time and a tough movie to make.

Q: Did you know what you were getting into?

A: May be. She was a fascinating woman, very intelligent and very motivated, so I enjoyed spending time with her. It was delicate as he approached the end of his life. She wanted to be in control and didn’t accept that she was going to die. She wanted to see all the pictures. Which I should have let him do in hindsight. But the combination of no money and the creative power play made it difficult. Her story, what she was able to accomplish within the limits she pushed against, is incredible. She really took mainstream erotica.

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Q: Looks like you stumbled upon the Dead Man’s Switch story by accident.

A: Yeah. I inadvertently threw a movie about cryptocurrency and then tried to figure out which movie I was going to make. And I was really against a wall because it’s a dense new concept, a little boring, complicated, maybe academic. How do you put it in a movie and make it interesting? So I was trying to go back to get out of it. Then when I saw the news of QuadrigaCX’s receivership and Gerry’s death, I knew right away, “Oh, that’s what I’m supposed to do. “

Q: You weren’t finished when the pandemic hit. How did this affect the film?

A: I had done a few interviews as part of the development or the first shoots. Then I went down to San Francisco in January 2020 and had shoots planned in New York, Toronto and Montreal for April 2020. When the pandemic hit I said, well let’s at least see what we can. make do with what we have instead of everyone taking a break. I would have had more to sift through otherwise. I was curious as to what drives us to gamble, that kind of mentality that a lot of people fall into around FOMO and the obsession when it comes to something like cryptocurrency: “Everyone wins from money and i want to earn money too. And you spend and spend and spend. You think you know more than everyone else, you think you’re not going to get caught or that you are going to pick the right penny stock. I had some money on QuadrigaCX. It was the only game in town at the time and I had to figure out how it all worked. I definitely found myself quite obsessed with it. You think the highs are going to keep going up and we forget that the lows are low. It was good to be like, “Oh yeah, me too. Like everyone else.”