Brett Kavanaugh Documentary filmmakers are already getting new tips

  • A new documentary about allegations of misconduct against Justice Brett Kavanaugh premiered Friday.
  • The film was a last-minute addition to Sundance and was kept under wraps until Thursday.
  • The filmmakers said they started getting new tips about Kavanaugh right after the film was announced.

After a surprise announcement that a documentary focusing on sexual misconduct allegations against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh would premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, more tips started rolling in, according to the filmmakers.

Programmers of the indie film festival, which is held annually in Park City, Utah, revealed Thursday that the film “Justice” from director Doug Liman would be shown on Friday night. The film centers on allegations that were originally made against Kavanaugh in 2018, when he was nominated to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump.

The film revealed further details of allegations against Kavanaugh. It covers incidents alleged by accusers including Christine Blasey Ford, who testified before Congress in 2018, and Deborah Ramirez, a former classmate of Kavanaugh’s at Yale.

The film also includes new details about allegations of a separate incident at Yale involving another woman who has not been named and refused to be part of the film. Those allegations were given to the FBI by another Yale alumnus, Max Stier, during the Kavanaugh investigation — there were more than 4,500 tips given to the FBI, according to the film, and the most credible tips were passed on to the White House.

The filmmakers obtained a recording of Stier sharing his recollection of the incident, which provides one of the documentary’s most poignant segments. “That material like this was just shielded and sent to the White House and never pursued, to me that was the most shocking” discovery of the film, Liman said during a Q&A after the screening.

Liman, who is best known for directing films like “Swingers” and “The Bourne Identity,” answered questions about the film with Amy Herdy, his co-producer who led the film’s investigative team.

“I thought the movie was done, but it looks like we’re not going home,” Liman said. “The team stays on it.”

Asked what he originally hoped would result from the film — further research or other influences — Liman said that what happens after the film is “so out of my control,” adding, “We live in a climate where, whatever we puts in this movie, it’s likely that the people who support the status quo are going to continue to support it, and I sort of came to the answer for myself: Maybe the truth matters. It matters now, it will matter in the future , and maybe that’s it. it.”

For Herdy, it is not enough, she said. “I hope that this sparks outrage, I hope that this sparks action, I hope that this sparks further investigation by real subpoena authorities.”

The filmmakers also said that they kept the film a secret because they believed that coming out could jeopardize their work. Liman cited “the machinery put in place to prevent anyone from speaking out.” If word had leaked out, he added: “There would have been some kind of injunction. This film would not have been shown here.”

Herdy said that code names were even used for the subjects and that everyone who worked on the film or was interviewed by the filmmakers signed a non-disclosure agreement.

The filmmakers interviewed about 20 people, including friends of Blasey Ford from her current circle and from her teenage years, friends of Ramirez, journalists and psychologists who described the features and impact of traumatic memories. Blasey Ford speaks briefly with Liman in the opening of the film, and there are extensive, emotional interviews with Ramirez.

Liman’s interest in making his first documentary arose, he said, in 2018 during the congressional hearings before Kavanaugh’s confirmation. He has previously told the Hollywood Reporter that “the Supreme Court, which is sacred to all of us, has special meaning for me”. His father, Arthur L. Liman, was a prominent lawyer and activist, and his brother, Lewis, once clerked for the Supreme Court and is now a federal judge in the Southern District of New York.

The film is seeking a distributor, but as Liman and Herdy noted Saturday, it could still be expanded as they continue to investigate the new leads they’ve received.

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