• These three people attempt going a whole week without lying in 'The Honesty Experiment'. (SBS)Source: SBS
In this collection of documentaries, our ‘Festival of Fake’ filmmakers embark on the challenge of sorting real from fake.
SBS Guide

7 Feb 2019 - 3:41 PM  UPDATED 15 Feb 2019 - 10:25 AM

We’re flooded with a deluge of information every moment of every day. In the time of ‘fake news’, it can be a major challenge to work out what’s real and what’s not.

Screening from Sunday, 10 February on SBS, this collection of documentaries will help you work it out. Or if it’s all too baffling, at least you’ll have a lot of mind-blowing fun in the attempt. Here’s what’s on offer. 

(Dis)honesty – The Truth About Lies

Do humans have a propensity to be dishonest? Behavioural economist Dan Ariely and a team of scientists chase answers by conducting groundbreaking experiments on lying – why we do it, and how it impacts our lives as well as everyday society. In confessions to camera, people reveal the lies they’ve told and their subsequent unravelling while Ariely exposes the complex truth behind our lies.    

(Dis)honesty – The Truth About Lies airs on Sunday, 10 February at 8:30 pm on SBS. 

The Imposter

Nicholas Barclay went missing from his Texas home at the age of 13. When he’s found three years later, he is not the same. Bearing signs of torture and speaking with an accent, the FBI ends up getting involved in this bizarre tale that takes us from Barclay’s hometown of San Antonio all the way to the village in Spain where he’s found huddled, terrified in a public phone booth. Is this a case of identity theft or does the older Barclay wear the scars of physical and psychological distress? This thrilling story will have you riveted to the very end.

The Imposter aired on Sunday, 10 February at 9:30 pm on SBS and is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


Michael Mosley’s Placebo Experiment

We’ve all heard about the placebo effect, but how effective is it really? And could it work on emotional as well as physical pain? Dr Michael Mosley heads to Blackpool where he investigates Britain’s largest ever trial conducted on placebos. In a sample of sufferers of backache – one of the leading causes of chronic pain – half the patients are administered a placebo and the other half the usual treatment. Will it succeed? What he discovers is worth tuning in for.

Michael Mosley’s Placebo Experiment airs on Monday, 11 February at 8:30 pm on SBS.

The Honesty Experiment

In a world-first experiment, scientists put three people – a priest, an advertising executive and a YouTuber – to the honesty test. Rigged up to the latest lie-detection technology, the participants’ sweat, movement and speech patterns are monitored before they attempt being honest for a whole week. Given that we all lie up to nine times a day, The Honesty Experiment reveals the impact of lying on our mental health and the state of our relationships.

The Honesty Experiment airs on Monday, 11 February at 9:35 pm on SBS.

False Confessions

Every year, countless suspects in America confess to crimes they didn’t commit. Why do they do it? In this Danish–American co-production, US defence attorney Jane Fisher-Byrialsen wants to see an end to interrogation techniques that lead innocent people to incriminate themselves.

False Confessions airs on Thursday, 14 February at 9:30 pm on SBS.

Fox News: Divide And Conquer

This documentary charts the life of Roger Ailes, who resigned as Fox News Chairman in 2017, shortly before his death at the age of 77 amid a growing number of sexual harassment allegations. Within two decades, Ailes had shaped Fox into a ratings powerhouse and the home of conservative politics in America. In his younger days, Ailes was media advisor to President Nixon, who learned to use the power of the media to his great advantage, then went on to advise Presidents Reagan and Bush Senior. Interviews with personal and political friends and rivals shed light on this hugely divisive figure, as well as on how he contributed to creating America’s current media and political landscape.

Fox News: Divide And Conquer aired on Thursday, 14 February at 10:35 pm on SBS and is now streaming at SBS On Demand.


Forbidden Lie$

Norma Khouri’s bestselling memoir, Forbidden Love, told the story of the honour killing of her best friend in Jordan, the country of Khouri’s origin. But people quickly came forward from many quarters to contend she made the whole thing up. Khouri insists she told the truth, even as this saga is dubbed “the first great literary hoax of the 21st century”. This dramatised documentary takes us on a wild ride – Khouri herself is nothing if not compelling.

Forbidden Lie$ airs on Saturday, 16 February at 8:30 pm on SBS. 

The Wolfpack

The six Angulo brothers are The Wolfpack. Growing up in Manhattan, the brothers were confined to their small family apartment, very rarely let out into the world. But the boys were allowed to watch movies. They made their own costumes out of whatever they could find and re-enacted their favourite scenes, as we see in their intimate home movies. When one brother escapes their imprisoned life, everything changes. 

The Wolfpack airs on Saturday, 16 February at 10:30 pm on SBS.

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