Time Bomb Y2K – Hot Docs 2023

Timebomb Y2K Hot Docs 2023
Uses archival footage to show how Y2K evolved from a valid concern in the information technology sector into full blown apocalyptic paranoia.

Time Bomb Y2K – Hot Docs 2023

Runtime: 01:24
An immersive, all-archival retelling of the “Y2K” millennium bug and the mass hysteria that changed the fabric of modern society.

The timeline of Y2K concerns and paranoia is revisited in . In the mid-1990s, there was an explosion in information technology and the level that we corrected. However, with this interconnectivity came the fear of the “Millenium Big,” first brought to attention by Canadian computer engineer Peter de Jager, who expressed concerns about the internal clocks on computers resetting to the year 1900 in the year 2000, resulting in the prospect of massive failure. In the years leading up to the new Millenium, millions of dollars were spent to fix the computer problems, while the fear of Y2K exploded into full-blown paranoia.

Time Bomb Y2K Synopsis

Time Bomb Y2K is a documentary about the Y2K paranoia directed by Brian Becker and Marley Mcdonald. The film is constructed entirely out of archive news and television footage from the five years leading up to the year 2000. This began with optimism in 1996 as Bill Clinton and Al Gore celebrate the information technology explosion, including holding a very primitive video call. However, as early as 1997, Peter de Jager began expressing concerns about the Millenium bug, which could resort in a huge catastrophe if left unchecked. The result is John Koskinen being appointed by the government as the “Y2K Czar” and ensuring that computers are converted before 2000.

My Thoughts on Time Bomb Y2K

I was a teenager when Y2K paranoia was at its highest, and I remember some of the clips featured in Time Bomb Y2K, such as a 1999 commercial for the made-for-TV Y2K: The Movie. Not surprisingly, 1999 takes up a sizable chunk of the clips featured in this film. Nearly two-thirds of the public started becoming seriously concerned about a possible Y2K crisis despite much work already being done to avoid disaster, resulting in the ironic fact that the fear of Y2K ended up being bigger than Y2K itself. Apart from Y2K itself, Time Bomb Y2K also features some late 1999 clips that are chilling when watched more than two decades later. These include fears of a possible Osama Bin Ladin terrorist attack, with tragically came to fruition with 9/11 and Vladimir Putin first becoming President of Russia, an office he still holds today.

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.