2021 has been quite a year for all of us. While technology has helped us through the pandemic in many different ways, our reliance on tech is often not matched by our ability to protect ourselves from cybercrime. 

Against this backdrop we’ve told stories about criminal gangs, explored immortality and asked whether it’s possible to fall in love with robots with the aim of stirring debate and entertaining hundreds of thousands of viewers around the world. 

Join us as we take a look back at the highlights of this memorable year.

The controversial one. Imagine Beyond: Who Wants to Live Forever?

This film attracted the most comments on Tomorrow Unlocked’s YouTube channel in 2021 when we delved into one of humankind’s oldest themes: immortality. With advances in technology and a radical new global movement, living forever might be closer than we think. But is it something you would want? Watch and decide for yourself. 

Check out other stories about AI, robotics and future tech in Imagine Beyond on YouTube.

The edgy one. Imagine Beyond: Build me Somebody to Love

Could you fall in love with a robot? Will AI relationships be the norm in the future? As robots become ever more human, surely it’s only a matter of time before human-cyborg relations enter a whole new dimension. In this age-restricted video we explore these themes and meet those shaping the future of robotics. 

The multi-award winning Imagine Beyond series offers new and exciting perspectives on what the future of technology could bring for what it means to be human. Stream all episodes on YouTube.

The one for true crime fans. hacker:HUNTER – Emotet

Emotet, the world’s biggest organised cybercrime gang, was responsible for a swathe of crimes and possibly deaths. A global coalition of law enforcement officers came together to take them down – no mean feat when the anonymous crime gang was constantly on the move. This episode of hacker:HUNTER tells the inside story of their demise through the eyes of the heroes who brought them to justice.

hacker:HUNTER looks at outstanding moments of hacking and cybercrime from a deeply human angle. Enjoy all the episodes here.

The interactive one. hacker:HUNTER – Carbanak

Choose your own adventure brought bang up to date with our first interactive film. This documentary takes viewers inside the Carbanak attack of 2013 which saw money flying out of ATMs around the world. Get ready to go behind the scenes of the biggest cyber heist in history.

The audio one. Fast Forward

In our first audio series we delve into the future of tech by looking at the recent past. Led by writer, broadcaster and cultural theorist Ken Hollings, the series includes insightful interviews with industry, media and academic tech experts who have an eye on the future. 

Listen to all episodes of this CMA 2021 silver award-winning audio series

The one that might make you cry. Defenders of Digital: I am the Cavalry

Josh Corman leads a collective of white hat hackers, The Cavalry. Driven by the pain of losing his mother, Josh and his global collective are on a mission to make every

connected device safe, from medical infusion pumps to cars. This film inspires and terrifies in equal measure.  

Watch all 3 series of Defenders of Digital to hear from the heroes who fight to keep digital fair, open, free and functional.

The one that shows the future of industry. Young Bright Minds: The Autonomous Factory

Smart factories could fight climate change, save lives and help solve the supply chain crisis that we’ve seen in this year’s post-pandemic world. 

Could they even represent the next industrial revolution? In this episode of Young Bright Minds we meet Theo Saville, CEO of CloudNC and pioneer of autonomous factories. Theo explains why connected manufacturing is the future and how optimizing machines could save lives.

The one that was most awarded. From Kurils With Love – Behind the Scenes

The original From Kurils With Love documentary scooped 4 global awards in 2020, and in 2021 picked up a prestigious nomination for a Webby – the international awards that honor excellence on the internet.

This year we took you behind the scenes of this extraordinary film. With previously unseen footage, filmmakers Renan Ozturk and Taylor Rees share what the apocalypse created by the eruption of the Raykoke Volcano meant to them and how it became a metaphor for the world’s experience during the global pandemic.

The one for business. hacker: HUNTER Behind the Screens – Lighting the Dark Web

The acclaimed hacker:HUNTER series took a new perspective in 2021 by shining a light on cybersecurity professionals and the work they do to fight the exponential rise of cybercrime.

In this inaugural episode we meet officers from the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit who talk us through the Dark Web crime they fight every day, detailing how they catch cybercriminals whose identity, location and organisation is constantly changing. 

Ready for more captivating stories from frontline crime fighters? Stream more episodes of hacker:HUNTER Behind the Screens here.

The drama film. Click

For our first foray into fiction we commissioned a collective of teenage Nigerian filmmakers, The Critics, to create a short film. The self-taught collective is gaining global attention with their sci-fi films. In this movie they look at cybercrime from the perspective of Mel, a hacker who lives with her sick mother while investigating the mysterious disappearance of her father.

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The Tomorrow Unlocked Film Festival Winner: Terra Cene

Now in its second year, the Tomorrow Unlocked Film Festival gives up-and-coming independent filmmakers the opportunity to showcase their creativity and tell engaging stories about how technology influences our lives now and in the future. Directed by Nono Ayuso, the 2021 winner Terra Cene is a remembrance of things past and an observation of the interconnected nature of our time on Earth.

Check out the 2021 Tomorrow Unlocked Film Festival finalists.