DocFest: Time Bomb Y2K & Forgotten Fountains

  • Guy on a VHS footage with Happy New Year note on top of him

As the year 2000 approached, rumblings started to spread outside of the world of computer engineers and into the mainstream consciousness about a ubiquitous glitch in computer code that meant when the year turned from “1999” to “2000,” all computers would reset to “1900” and the world’s systems would malfunction, grinding to a halt.

In a fully archival tour de force, co-directors Brian Becker and Marley McDonald document the countdown to Y2K against the backdrop of the mass hysteria that infiltrated everything from politics to pop culture. Doomsday prepper communities started to proliferate and businesses popped up with products, books, and any way to make a quick buck off the looming disaster. Time Bomb Y2K* is a wild ride through the final days of the ’90s and a compelling portrait of a turning point in the digital revolution.

*Followed by Forgotten Fountains, an experimental documentary that harnesses Super 8mm and found 16mm footage to explore drinking fountains as a lens on the broader infrastructure crisis in the United States (dir. by Ellie Vanderlip).

Presented as part of San Francisco Documentary Festival 2023.

1h 41m
Brian Becker & Marley McDonald
United States
First Showing
June 7, 2023