Doug Liman on the Making of the Brett Kavanaugh Documentary: ‘Truth Matters’
“I hope this sparks a real investigation with real subpoena power,” Justice producer Amy Herdy said at the film’s Sundance premiere.
Sundance’s biggest surprise so far is “Justice,” director Doug Liman’s documentary about the sexual harassment allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Liman said during a Q&A at the film’s premiere Friday night that he knew “something very bad was going on” and that he felt outraged after Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings in 2018 — that the film’s genesis dates back to that time.
Liman told the crowd at Sundance’s Park Avenue Theater that it was crucial to keep the making of the film completely secret, as he realized during the making that “the machinery that was put in place to prevent anyone from speaking out” could eventually happen. them and the topics involved. Liman appeared on stage with producer Amy Herdy, who explained that everyone involved had signed NDAs and had even been given code names for the film’s subjects. It was said that “justice” would never have been done without this caution.
“There would have been a prompt.” This movie would not have been shown here,” Liman said.
But when it comes to why the film was made and what the filmmakers hope to get out of it, Liman acknowledged that whatever the film says, many on one side of the political spectrum will do their best to avoid it.
“That’s when I came to the answer: the truth matters. It matters now, it will matter in the future,” Liman said. “Maybe that’s it.”
“I’m not happy with it, sorry,” Herdy interjected. “I hope it sparks outrage, I hope it sparks action, and I hope it sparks a real investigation with real subpoena power.”
Kavanaugh, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump in 2018, was the subject of a series of confirmation hearings when he was accused of sexually assaulting professor Christine Blasey Ford when they were both high school students in the 1980s. Blasey Ford testified before Congress, and three other women later accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct (although one later retracted her story). Kavanaugh denied the allegations during his own testimony, and Kavanaugh was appointed to the party’s highest court.
However, the “justice” came in part because of the revelations received by the FBI an additional 4500 tips related to Kavanaugh’s nomination, which were referred to the White House but never properly investigated. Many of these went straight to the “trash bin,” Liman said, and as the filmmakers sought to review the tips, many were heavily re-edited. However, Liman’s film was also self-financed, with the director personally funding Herdy’s team’s investigative efforts. And he acknowledged that much more work remains to be done, given their own limited resources.
“Only a few people are funding it themselves to reveal what we discovered. Imagine what could be found if someone with real subpoena powers started looking into this,” he said.
“Justice” focuses heavily on allegations by Debbie Ramirez, who previously accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her at a Yale dorm party. Ramirez is given the opportunity to tell his story in detail, and Herdy said that the accounts in the film were those that the filmmakers were able to corroborate from other sources, but that it left out many whose stories the filmmakers could not tell. verifies independently.
The film also featured damning testimony from a politician named Max Stier, who said he witnessed Kavanaugh sexually assaulting a freshman football player at Yale in a separate case, and the film even includes an audio recording of Stier discusses the incident (Kavanaugh did not comment directly on the filmmakers).
Liman cited everyone who chose to participate and publicly put their names behind the allegations against Kavanaugh as heroes. But now that word of the film has broken, Liman says the current version of the film that premiered at Sundance remains a festival cut, and the tips already pouring in could affect the film beyond tonight.
“I thought I was off the hook,” Liman said. “Yesterday Amy thought we weren’t done.” Monday morning, we’ll get back to it.”
Liman also touched on why Blasey Ford isn’t the focus of the film.
“I felt that Dr. Ford gave a lot to the country,” Liman said. “He did his part. He did more than what he suffered for the country… he did enough for 10 lives.”
“Justice” was also produced by documentary heavyweights Dan Cogan and Liz Garbus of Story Syndicate, and the film is a CAA-repped acquisition title.
“Sundance is a festival of independent films looking for buyers, and we thought (Kavanaugh) might buy it,” Liman said.
Additional reporting by Christian Blauvelt.
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