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Death By Design


Consumers love – and live on – their smartphones, tablets and laptops. A cascade of new devices pours endlessly into the market, promising even better communication, non-stop entertainment and instant information. The numbers are staggering. By 2020, four billion people will have a personal computer. Five billion will own a mobile phone.

But this revolution has a dark side that the electronics industry doesn’t want you to see.

In an investigation that spans the globe, award-winning filmmaker Sue Williams investigates the underbelly of the international electronics industry and reveals how even the tiniest devices have deadly environmental and health costs. From the intensely secretive factories in China, to a ravaged New York community and the high tech corridors of Silicon Valley, the film tells a story of environmental degradation, of health tragedies, and the fast approaching tipping point between consumerism and sustainability.


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The Filmmakers

Sue Williams Director/Producer/Writer

Sue Williams has produced and directed five critically acclaimed, feature documentaries about China for national PBS broadcast, including Frontline. Contemporary China features prominently in her most recent film, DEATH BY DESIGN. Sue also directed two highly praised biographies on Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary Pickford for the PBS series, American Experience.

Her films have been broadcast in more than 25 countries and appeared in festivals around the world. They have won numerous awards, most recently, the 2016 Boston Globe Doc Filmmaker Award.


Festivals & Awards

Sheffield Doc/Fest


World Premiere

Nominee - Environmental Award

Mill Valley Film Festival


Official Selection

Seattle International Film Festival


Doc Competition

Melbourne International Film Festival


Official Selection

Martha's Vineyard Film Festival


Official Selection

Traverse City Film Festival


Official Selection

Bergen International Film Festival


Official Selection


You won’t look at your iPhone in quite the same way again after viewing Sue Williams’ thoughtful documentary.”

-Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times

Vital. Provocative in its focus on giant American corporations.”

-John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

Both jaw-dropping and heartbreaking, Death by Design forces the viewer to reconsider their whole approach to technology”

-Hannah Clugston, Aesthetica Magazine