director Doug Liman says it is self-financing brett kavanaugh documentary film Justicewhich premiered at Sundance on Friday night, could be far from over as new tips began pouring in half an hour after the top-secret project was announced on Thursday.
“I thought the movie was done…I thought it was out of the woods. I’m at Sundance, I thought, I can sell the movie,” Liman said sadly in a question-and-answer session after the world premiere of his first documentary, which reexamines the sexual assault allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. raised during their confirmation hearings in 2018. The film follows advice the FBI apparently ignored in an investigation launched after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford accused Kavanaugh of assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were both high school students in Maryland. .
Justice pay close attention to the allegations of another woman, Deborah Ramirez, who also came forward in the middle of the hearings to say that in 1983, a drunken Kavanaugh, then a freshman at Yale University, had exposed himself to her in a gathering of various young people on campus.
CAA is handling sales for what has immediately become the hottest takeover title at the first in-person Sundance since 2020. Justice opened to a packed theater with enthusiastic response. The documentary had been kept under wraps and was only announced as part of the lineup at the opening press conference a day earlier.
Perhaps the most explosive revelation in the film is that the FBI did not take advice from Max Stier, a fellow Yale student during the time Ramirez and Kavanaugh attended the school, who said he was tipped off about an alleged similar incident at the that Kavanaugh exposed himself. to another student The film includes a taped statement from Stier, one of 4,500 clues to an FBI hotline that was established after Ramirez and Blasey Ford came forward.
Liman said the filmmakers have yet to receive any pushback, but that he felt the filmmakers and interviewees in the film risked retaliation while Justice there was therefore a need for extreme secrecy that extended to asking everyone involved in the film to sign non-disclosure agreements.
“The machinery that is turned on anyone who speaks up…we knew the machinery would turn on us,” Liman said. “The film would not have shown at Sundance, there would have been a court order” if the news had leaked ahead of time.
Producer Amy Herdy, also in the Q&A session, investigated other prominent figures accused of sexual misconduct, including Woody Allen in the 2021 docu-series. Allen vs. Farrowand music industry mogul Russell Simmons in the 2020 doc in the record. Oscar winner Dan Cogan and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Liz Garbus produced the film, along with Liman. Cogan and Garbus’ production company Story Syndicate produced the film.
Herdy said he hopes the film “provokes outrage and an investigation with subpoena powers.”
Blasey Ford appears briefly in the opening minutes of the film. Excerpts from his dramatic testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee serve to tell his story. Liman said he didn’t include a new on-camera interview with Blasey Ford because “she did her part. She did more than her share for this country. She has done enough for 10 lifetimes.”
In a statement issued after the festival announced the documentary’s premiere, Liman said: “It shouldn’t be that difficult to have an open and honest conversation about whether or not a Supreme Court justice assaulted numerous women when he was young. Thanks to this fantastic research team and the brave souls who trusted us with their stories, Justice picks up where the FBI investigation into Brett Kavanaugh fell woefully short. The film examines our judicial process and the institutions that support it, and highlights the bureaucratic missteps and political power grabs that continue to have an enormous impact on our nation today.”
President Trump nominated Kavanaugh in July 2018 to succeed retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. The Senate Judiciary Committee held Kavanaugh’s initial confirmation hearings from September 4-7. On September 16, the Washington Post published a bombshell report that Blasey Ford had accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in 1982 when they were both teenagers in Bethesda, Maryland.
In an excerpt from FBI Director Christopher Wray’s congressional testimony seen in the film, the G-man admits that tips that came in about Kavanaugh were shared with the Trump White House. The film ends with Vice President Mike Pence announcing the 50-48 Senate vote that confirmed Kavanaugh’s lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court.
The document notes that Kavanaugh declined to comment with the filmmakers. He has previously categorically denied all the accusations.
Among Kavanaugh’s biggest decisions since joining the court is his vote last year to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion. He was joined in the 6-3 decision by other conservatives, including Amy Coney Barrett, who was confirmed to the court in 2020.
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