DRONE is a documentary about the covert CIA drone war. Directed by Tonje Hessen Schei and produced by Flimmer Film.
In tiny bunkers in the United States, young pilots are operating unmanned drones targeting 'bad people' in Pakistan. Recruited at video game fairs by military leaders who know the value of games that glamourise 'militainment', drone pilots are left traumatised by the civilian casualties – or 'collateral damage' – their strikes cause.
The armed drone is hailed as the defining weapon of the war on terror and has revolutionized the very nature of war, and nearly perfects the ability to find, fix and finish a person or a group in far away hostile places. Over 3000 people have been killed by drones in the tribal areas of Pakistan since 2004, including over 800 civilians and 200 children. Their deaths are largely denied by the US authorities. Shahzad Akbar and Clive Stafford Smith are human rights lawyers who represent the drone victims. Through them the authors met survivors of drone attacks and learned about the horrors of life under the drones.
Today the US trains more drone pilots than regular fighter pilots. Brandon Bryant and Michael Haas are some of the first drone pilots, they have killed through joysticks and now suffer the consequences. Their intimate stories from the inside of the drone program explain some of the mysteries that surround the new secret war.
According to NATO, we will soon fight with tens of thousands of robots. We are now developing unmanned drones from the size of bees to airships.