“Agents of Chaos” documentary nominated for Writers Guild Award

February 16, 2021

Agents of Chaos,” a four-hour HBO documentary about Donald Trump and Russia’s interference in the 2016 election based on reporting by Berkeley Journalism’s Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) and Investigative Studios, has been nominated for best documentary script at the Writers Guild Awards. The film was streamed in two parts and each of the two-hour segments were nominated individually.

The film includes never-before-seen footage inside Russian troll farms and examines Russia’s plans to undermine democracy. It includes the first in-depth video interview with Glenn Simpson, who produced the so-called “Steele Dossier,” and the public debut of Andrew Weissmann, a senior leader of the Mueller investigation. Dozens of other key players talk on camera, including Felix Sater, Trump’s link to Russia and allegedly to organized crime; Andrew McCabe, former acting director of the FBI; and his target, Carter Page, former Trump campaign advisor.

“Agents of Chaos” is a co-production between director Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions and Investigative Studios, a company founded by Emeritus Professor Lowell Bergman and the IRP. Professor Bergman guided the reporting for the series and was one of the film’s executive producers.

Other Berkeley Journalism alums and staff who worked on the film include: John Temple, then-director of the IRP, as a co-executive producer; lecturer Abbie VanSickle as a reporter; Zach Stauffer (’08) and Loi Ameera Almeron (’16) for their camera work.

“The project was born in part in an IRP seminar in early 2017 where students got to interact with key characters like Sater,” Professor Bergman said. “For nearly four years, the IRP and Investigative Studios stayed on it, managing to deliver this unique co-production on the eve of the 2020 election. We provided a way to get your arms around this complex and volatile story.”

Felix Sater talks to students in Prof. Bergman’s seminar in 2018

The Writers Guild Awards honor outstanding writing in film, television, new media, news, radio and other promotional categories. The awards show will be held on Sunday, March 21, 2021.







Special thanks to the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation for supporting the reporting for this film.

By Janice Hui


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