PANAMA PAPERS MOVIE

The Laundromat, A-list movie based on the Panama Papers, to premiere at Venice

The film, starring Meryl Streep, will premiere at the upcoming film festival, considered a key launchpad for Academy Awards’ success next February.

Update August 27, 2019: Netflix has announced the film will make its global debut on the streaming platform on October 18, 2019. The film will also play in United States theaters starting September 27.

A movie inspired by one of the biggest data leaks in history is set for its world premiere at the upcoming Venice International Film Festival, considered a key launchpad for Academy Awards’ success next February.

The Laundromat, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh for Netflix, is based on the Panama Papers, the culmination of a global investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and more than 100 global media partners to expose the rogue offshore finance industry.

Soderbergh has previously directed blockbusters such as Erin Brockovich and Traffic, which won him an Oscar for best director. The screenplay’s writer, Scott Z. Burns, has scripted several box-office hits, including The Bourne Ultimatum, Side Effects and Contagion.

The story draws on a book by Jake Bernstein, Secrecy World: Inside the Panama Papers Investigation of Illicit Money Networks and the Global Elite. Bernstein, a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, was a reporter on the ICIJ-led project.

The Laundromat will premiere on September 1 at the prestigious Italian festival, ranked beside Cannes and Berlin among the ‘Big Three’ in the world. The A-List cast includes Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas, Melissa Rauch, Gary Oldman, Sharon Stone and David Schwimmer.

Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas as Mossack and Fonseca in the Laundromat Panama Papers movie.
Gary Oldman, left, as Jürgen Mossack and Antonio Banderas as Ramon Fonseca in The Laundromat, a film based on the Panama Papers.

Streep plays Ellen Martin, a widow whose dream vacation casts her into a nether world of shady dealings that link back to a Panama City law firm run by Jürgen Mossack (Oldman) and Ramón Fonseca (Banderas).

Martin’s odyssey involves the kind of cases that proliferate in the Panama Papers, a leak of millions of files that detailed secretive financial networks linked to the world’s richest and most powerful people, including criminals, celebrities and political leaders.

The original leak of 11.5 million confidential documents came via an anonymous whistleblower who contacted reporters Bastian Obermayer and Frederik Obermaier from the German newspaper, Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Obermayer and Obermaier provided the documents to ICIJ, which brought together a team of nearly 400 reporters to collaborate on an international investigation. In April 2016, more than 100 media outlets around the world simultaneously published their findings, which have since led to the recovery of more than $1.2 billion in fines and back taxes, as well as hundreds of official investigations and responses from governments and authorities around the world.

The investigation’s revelations sparked widespread condemnation and huge protests on the streets of the United Kingdom, Malta, Iceland and Pakistan. The leaders of both Iceland and Pakistan were forced to resign.

The law firm at the center of the investigation and at the heart of the upcoming movie, Mossack Fonseca, has since closed down and its principals were arrested on money-laundering charges.

Join ICIJ Insiders

Do you believe journalism can make a difference?
For just $15/month you can help expose the truth and hold the powerful to account.

Following its premiere in Venice, The Laundromat will be showcased at the 44th Toronto International Film Festival later next month.

Soderbergh’s previous movies have been warmly received at various international festivals considered precursors to Oscars’ success. His 1989 movie Sex, Lies, and Videotape, for example, earned him the Cannes Film Festival’s Palme D’Or Award, which in turn led to an Oscar nomination for Best Director.

Netflix is planning to release The Laundromat on its streaming service later this year.

PRESS FREEDOM

Malta responsible for assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, inquiry finds

Jul 30, 2021
Reporters convene during a trip to Bermuda for Paradise Papers.
BEHIND THE SCENES

How reporting for ICIJ prepared me to become a certified anti-money laundering specialist

Jul 07, 2021
ICIJ team meeting
DATA JOURNALISM

A decade of digital evolution to help reporting revolutions at ICIJ 

May 25, 2021
BEHIND THE SCENES

Watch: Reliving the key moments of the Panama Papers

Apr 20, 2021
MEET THE INVESTIGATORS

Behind the scenes of the Panama Papers story that brought down Iceland’s PM

Apr 13, 2021
IMPACT

Cyprus, Ghana and Kenya join growing list of countries to create beneficial ownership registries

Apr 13, 2021
ICIJ is dedicated to ensuring all reports we publish are accurate. If you believe you have found an inaccuracy let us know.