Total Trust

FAST FORWARD 2023 / Projections:
11.12.2023 / 17:00 / CIC “Budo Tomović” – Dodest / Podgorica
14.12.2023 / 17:00 / Cultural Centre / Berane

Jialing Zhang / Germany, The Netherlands / 2023 / 97’

Director: Jialing Zhang
Screenplay: Jialing Zhang
Editors: Claire Shen, Ruben Van Der Hammen
Music: Jorg Gollasch
Production: IMF Interactive Media Foundation, Filmtank, Witfilm
Producers: Knut Jager, Michael Grotenhoff


Total Trust is a deeply disturbing story that explores the extent of digital control in China, where unprecedented levels of state surveillance, abuse of power, and (self-)censorship prevail, confronting us with what can happen when our privacy is ignored. In recent years, due to economic slowdown and growing social issues, with increasing activism and public discontent, the Chinese government perceives a threat to its control. To counter this, China has begun to expand a sophisticated digital system across the country to track and monitor citizens, from ordinary people to those specifically targeted by the authorities for critical thinking. This involves collecting and analyzing their data, categorizing behaviors as either punishable or commendable, with the hope of anticipating political resistance within society before it happens. Taking China as a mirror, this film sounds an alarm about the increasing use of surveillance tools worldwide – even by democratic governments like those in Europe. If this is the present, what is our future?


Jialing Zhang was born in China and moved to the United States after graduating from high school. She studied journalism and documentary film at New York University. She then worked in Beijing as a correspondent for various international media outlets. Her first feature-length documentary, Complicit, premiered at the 2017 Human Rights Film Festival in Berlin. A major success was the documentary One Child Nation (2019), which received excellent reviews and won several international awards, including the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. It was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.  As a producer, Zhang was involved in Nanfu Wang’s In The Same Breath (USA) in 2021, which followed the outbreak and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in China. The film also won awards at various international festivals and earned Zhang and her co-producers significant nominations.


  • Dokufest International Documentary and Short Film Festival 2023 (Kosovo) – Truth Award
  • DOC NYC (USA) – Grand Jury Prize
  • Sheffield International Documentary Festival 2023 (England) – Special Mention: Tim Hetherington Award
  • Jerusalem Film Festival 2023 (Israel) – Nominee – Best Documentary
  • Stockholm International Film Festival 2023 (Sweden) – Nominee – Best Documentary
  • Sydney Film Festival 2023 (Australia)
  • The Hague Movies that Matter Festival 2023 (Netherlands)
  • Bergen International Film Festival (Norway)
  • It’s All True – International Documentary Film Festival 2023 (Brasil)