Total Trust

Creative Documentary Total Trust

“Total Trust” is an eye-opening and deeply disturbing story of surveillance technology, abuse of power and (self-)censorship. What can happen when our privacy is ignored? Through the haunting stories of people in China who have been monitored, intimidated and even tortured, “Total Trust” tells of the dangers of technology like Big Data and AI in the hands of unbridled power. Taking China as an illustration (a mirror?), the film sounds an alarm about the increasing use of surveillance tools around the world - even in democratically run countries. If this is the present, what does our future look like?

Countries of production: DE/NL
Runtime: 97´/92´
Year: 2023
Language: Mandarin
Subtitles: English, German

World Sales: Cinephil
Film distribution: Piffl Medien



CPH:DOX, Nominee DOX:AWARD, Denmark, 2023
Movies that Matter, Nominee Camera Justitia, Netherlands, 2023
It’s All True, Best Feature or Medium-Length Documentary, Brasil, 2023
Hot Docs, Special Presentations, Canada, 2023
Millennium Docs Agains Gravity, Special Mention Amnesty International Poland Award, Poland, 2023
Beldocs, Nominee The Future of Freedom Competition, Serbia, 2023
Sydney Film Festival, Australia, 2023
Sheffield DocFest, Special Mention Rebellions Competition for Tim Hetherington Award, UK, 2023
Jerusalem Film Festival, Nominee Spirit of Freedom, Israel, 2023
IceDocs, Iceland, 2023
New Zealand International Documentary Festival, Nominee Political States, New Zealand, 2023
Lemesos International Film Festival, Cyprus, 2023
Dokufest Prizren, Winner TRUTH DOX, Kosovo 2023
Festival Technopolice, France, 2023
Filmfest Hamburg, Nominee Veto!, Germany 2023
Bergen International Film Festival, Nominee Checkpoints, Norway, 2023
Mondovisioni, Italy 2023
Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival, Germany, 2023
Bergen International Film Festival, Nominee Checkpoints, Norway 2023
Film Festival Dritti Umani Lugano, Special Mention, Switzerland, 2023
Ji.halva International Documentary Film Festival, Nominee Testimonies, Czechia, 2023
DOC NYC, Grand Jury Prize, International Competition, USA 2023
Films from the South,Nominee Doc:South competition,Norwegen 2023
BIDF, Nominee “Your Country” competition, Ungarn 2023
Docpoint, Finland 2023
FIFDH,Nominee Focus competition,Schweiz 2024

Press quotes

a deeply disturbing documentary about the inner workings of the Chinese surveillance state

Die Zeit

Zhang’s intimate footage offers unprecedented access to the impact of this all-controlling system on the protagonists’ everyday lives.


It is an urgent, gripping and frightening film, and serves as much as a warning for the rest of the world as it describes China and its increasing authoritarianism.


shocking and stirring

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Jialing Zhang's documentary paints (...) an oppressive picture of the omnipresence of government cameras.

Frankfurter Rundschau


Director: Jialing Zhang
Producer: Knut Jäger, Michael Grotenhoff, Saskia Kress, Jialing Zhang
DoP: Cuier (Anonymous), RCS (Anonymous), J.V.Chi (Anonymous)
Editor: Barbara Toennieshen, Claire Shen (Anonymous)
Music: Jörg Gollasch
Co-Producer China: Cuier (Anonymous), Michelle Gao
Co-Producer Witfilm: Iris Lammerstma

Producer: Filmtank
In Co-Production with Witfilm, Interactive Media Foundation, ZDF/arte, NTR
Funded by MOIN Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Medien- und Filmgesellschaft Baden-Württemberg, Netherlands Film Fund, CoBO Fund, Eurimages.
In association with BBC Storyville, SVT, Chicken & Egg Pictures