‘Enemies of the State’ Director Had Actors ‘Lip Syncing’ to Audio of Hacker Asylum Seeker (Video)

TIFF 2020: Sonia Kennebeck directs the documentary about the case of Matthew DeHart

Last Updated: September 16, 2020 @ 3:46 PM

Sonia Kennebeck’s documentary film “Enemies of the State” is a film about the “elusive nature of truth,” as TheWrap’s review describes it, made even more complicated by the remarkable re-enactments that work to blend the fact and fiction of the story.

Kennebeck’s film tells the story of Matthew DeHart, a hacker seeking asylum in Canada claiming to being hunted and investigated by the FBI, only for the film to unravel a much deeper conspiracy involving a child pornography ring and accusations of government torture.

But when the filmmakers obtained access to the real audio file of DeHart’s asylum hearing, it proved to be too good of an opportunity to pass up.

“There was a full asylum hearing in Toronto, and we actually were able to get access to the real audio recording where the family and particularly the lead character Matt DeHart is retelling his own story, including all that you just mentioned, the government interrogations, this whole spy story that developed,” Kennebeck told TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman as part of the Virtual Studio at TIFF. “And so we had the audio, which is such a real, true document, so we then had the idea to re-create the images. So what the actors are basically doing is lip syncing to the real audio.”

“Enemies of the State” dissects the nature of conspiracy theories and why they can be so attractive, and Kennebeck says that all of the revelations throughout the course of the film are the same discoveries they made while researching their documentary thriller.

“We really didn’t know how it would end or where the research and investigation would lead us,” she says. “It does mirror our journey of investigation as well, and the discoveries that you see in the film is the way we discovered the story ourselves.”

Check out TheWrap’s interview with Kennebeck on “Enemies of the State” above.