Fast food from Brett Kavanaugh’s Secret Doug Liman documentary at Sundance

Suspension

PARK CITY, Utah — “We’re getting more tips,” Amy Hurdy announced Friday night after the Sundance Film Festival premiere of “Justice,” a documentary she produced about sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

The film’s existence was a surprise, as it wasn’t until Thursday, opening night, that the festival revealed that it was making a film very A last-minute addition to the lineup: the first documentary from “swingers” And The Bourne Identity Director Doug Liman. Within a half hour of the news coming out, Lehman said in a post-screening Q&A, the film’s staff began listening to people who had sent FBI tips before Kavanaugh’s confirmation, which the agency did not investigate.

And suddenly what was finished began again. The tips were compelling enough for the team to start investigating and shooting again, Lehmann said, with plans to add footage to the completed film. In a wild and rare move, the final documentary is back as a work-in-progress.

“I thought I was out of whack,” said Lehman, who self-financed the film to maintain its independence and keep it a secret. “I was like, ‘We’re at Sundance.'” I can sell the movie. … And yesterday, like Amy, “we weren’t done.” seriously. Monday morning, they’ll be back at it.”

The film, which Lehmann said in a press release aims to “[pick] Even where the FBI investigation into Brett M. Kavanaugh was very short,” he first showed up to a crowded house of nearly 300 people. Someone asked if he would show it to Kavanaugh. The answer was a joking yes. It occurred to us that he might buy it.”

The Affirmation of Justice process in the fall of 2018, which took place before the midterm elections, became messy when psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford of Palo Alto accused the Trump candidate of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. After, after Washington Post As Ford’s story was published, two other women accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

I told Deborah Ramirez, one of those women Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer from The New Yorker That Kavanaugh shoved his cock in her face during a party when they were at Yale. The FBI interviewed Ramirez, whose attorneys said the bureau Not followed up with any of the twenty witnesses who might be able to corroborate her story. The FBI investigation into Kavanaugh was born 4500 tip which has been largely uninvestigated.

After reviewing an FBI report compiled in one week, which Democrats denounced as hasty and incomplete, the Trump White House announced it found There is no proof of lawsuits against justice. Kavanaugh, who was part of the 6-3 conservative majority that flipped Roe v. WadeHe categorically denied all accusations and does not appear in the film outside of archival footage. The High Court’s Public Information Office did not respond to The Post’s request for comment on the documentary.

Lehman told the Sundance audience that he began considering making this movie in 2018 while watching the hearings and “knowing something was wrong going on.”

After all, the director grew up around the law. his dad, Arthur LymanHe was the senior advisor in the Senate investigation of the Iran-Contra affair and helped lead the investigation of the Attica prison uprising. Doug Lyman’s older brother, Louis, is a federal judge for the Southern District of New York.

Lyman And Hardy, the investigative journalist who made 2015 Documentary about sexual assault “hunting ground” kept Kavanaugh’s year-long investigation secret using NDAs – an impressive feat in the world of small documentary film.

Liman peppers archival footage with testimonies from Ramirez, friends of Ford, and Kavanaugh’s colleagues at Yale who said Justice is often too drunk, but the film feels patchy. (variety He called it “an exercise in choir evangelism.”) Although one powerful moment reveals an unheard of recording of an FBI tip on another defendant.

This is what we learned in the premiere.

The movie focuses on Ramirez, not Ford

It gives Lyman Ramirez the public platform she’s never taken before in the Senate. A long, passionate interview with Kavanaugh’s fellow Yale University resident in Boulder forms the backbone of the film. While the interview doesn’t contain much that hasn’t already been reported, it’s nice to hear someone who doesn’t enjoy being in the spotlight tell their story with all the tired starts and stops that come with trying to remember a nearly 40-year-old traumatic event.

Ramirez discusses her Catholic upbringing and her early desire to become a nun. She also talks about entering Yale in 1983 as the shy, half-Puerto Rican daughter of parents who didn’t go to college and trying to fit into the affluent, predominantly white male institution that began admitting women only fifteen years earlier. She gives a detailed account of her getting drunk at a party and looking for a penis in her face, which—he had never touched a penis before—accidentally brushed her hand. All her friends started laughing at her.

She blacked out the memory, but when Farrow interviewed her, she said details resurfaced, and she was positive Kavanaugh was her attacker.

“The memorable memory is laughter,” she says in the documentary, echoing what Ford said in her testimony. “I have never forgotten her in 35 years.”

Ford appears almost entirely in archive footage

The film opens, curiously, with the camera rehearsing Lyman sitting on a white couch, while a blonde woman asks why he wants to get into something so controversial. The audience only sees the back of Ford’s head in that moment, and then sees more of her at her sons’ basketball game right after the opening.

Otherwise, she is only seen in footage of her hearing

Instead, her close friends tell her story. One says Ford told him about Kavanaugh’s assault without naming him in 2015, when Stanford swimmer Brock Turner received a reduced sentence after being found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious student, Chanel Miller.

Lyman said in a Q&A that he felt Ford did not need to undergo another interview after being denied All on the national stage. He preferred to turn the camera over and let her ask a few questions.

“I felt that Dr. Ford had given so much to this country,” he said. “I’ve done enough for 10 lives.”

The FBI failed to consider at least one credible accusation

If there’s a powerful gun in Lyman’s movie, it’s a voice message left on the FBI’s information line from Max Steer, the president and CEO of the Partnership for Public Service who attended Yale with Kavanagh and Ramirez.

In the previously unheard of recording, Steer says classmates told him not only that Kavanaugh put his penis in Ramirez’s face, but then, Kavanaugh went to the bathroom to get himself erect before coming back to assault her again, hoping to amuse a mutual audience. . friends. In the film, Ramirez says she suppressed the memory so deeply that she could not remember the second incident, even when Farrow explicitly asked her about it.

Steer’s letter to the FBI also refers to another incident involving a different woman, which he says he witnessed “firsthand”: Kavanaugh, a heavily intoxicated roommate, pulled his pants down at a different party while a group of football players forced a woman into a state. Sugar freshman to hold his penis.

Friends of the woman told The New York Times in 2019 that she did not remember the accident and did not want to come forward after seeing Ford’s treatment. Stier did not appear in the film for clarification and did not give further interviews to his knowledge It debuted in 2019.

The directors told the audience Friday that they have a website, JusticeFilm.comWhere people can submit tips.

“I hope this will lead to action,” Hurdy said. “I hope this leads to further investigation with true summoning powers.

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