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WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn – Hot Docs 2021

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The rise and fall of WeWork CEO Adam Neumann is recounted in . When it was founded in 2010, Adam Neumann described his shared workspace company WeWork as the world's first “physical social network.” Preferring to call themselves a technology company over real estate, the estimated value of WeWork would end up growing by the billions each year. However, as the company began preparing to go public, the bubble of WeWork would suddenly burst.

Directed by Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Jed Rothstein (Killing in the Name, The China Hustle), WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn can be seen as an example of what can happen if too much faith is put on an investment “unicorn,” in which the expectation is that the company would grow to become the next Google or Facebook. However, it is revealed over the course of the film that Adam Neumann was a bit in over his head, as he would begin spreading the “We Company” brand to different ventures and give more control to his wife Rebekah, who happens to be the cousin of actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

There is a bit of irony early on in WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn, when the yearly summer camp held for WeWork members was described as “Fyre Fest gone right.”  While the workspace-sharing concept of WeWork is a good one, Adam Neumann tried to sell the company as something that it wasn't and the end result is a cautionary tale about what ultimately quite a PR nightmare for a company that is technically still in operation but valued a lot less than it once was.

WeWork: Or the Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn is streaming as part of the 2021 Hot Docs Film Festival, with a Big Ideas live-streamed Q&A on Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at 7:00 PM


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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.
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