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Hacked Circuit: Deborah Stratman

Hacked Circuit. Deborah Stratman

Hacked Circuit, Deborah Stratman, USA 2014, 15:05 min, HD video

A single-shot, choreographed portrait of the Foley process, revealing multiple layers of fabrication and imposition. The circular camera path moves us inside and back out of a Foley stage in Burbank, CA. While portraying sound artists at work, typically invisible support mechanisms of filmmaking are exposed, as are, by extension and quotation, governmental violations of individual privacy.

The scene being foleyed is the final sequence from The Conversation where Gene Hackman's character Harry Caul tears apart his room searching for a 'bug' that he suspects has been covertly planted. The look of Caul's apartment as he tears it apart mirrors the visual chaos of the Foley stage. This mirroring is also evident in the dual portraits of sonic espionage expert Caul and Foley artist Gregg Barbanell, for whom professionalism is marked by an invisibility of craft. And in the doubling produced by Hackman's second appearance as a surveillance hack, twenty-four years later in Enemy of the State.

These filmic quotations ground Hacked Circuit, evoking paranoia, and a sense of conviction alongside a lack of certainty about what is visible. The complication of the seen, the known, the heard and the undetectable provides thematic parallels between the stagecraft of Foley and a pervasive climate of government surveillance.


*Foley is the art of reproducing sound effects for cinema in real time. Its purpose is to complement or reproduce sounds created on set at the time of filming (aka field recording). Most films use a combination of foley and field recording. While watching a film clip, the Foley artist produces incidental non-dialogue sounds in sync with the action, e.g. footsteps, keys dropping, fabric rustling, glass breaking, doors closing, etc. The work of a good Foley artist goes undetected by the audience.

Best Experimental Film – Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival
Best Experimental Film – Vila do Conde Short Film Festival
Best Sound Design – Ann Arbor Film Festival
Best International Documentary – CORTR3S Festival de Cine
Best Short Documentary – Ashland Independent Film Festival
Videorama Award / Best Experimental Film – Timishort International Film Festival
Tiger Award Shorts Nominee – Rotterdam International Film Festival
Cinema Eye Honors shortlist – Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking
Honorable Mention – Chicago Underground Film Festival
Best Experimental Film – Budapest International Short Film Festival (BUSHO)

Director, Producer, Concept, Sound Design: Deborah Stratman
Featuring: Gregg Barbanell and Darrin Mann
DP: Norbert Shieh
Stedicam: Nathaniel Elegino
Field Recording: Aaron Bartscht
Assistant Director: Tom Rosenberg
Music: David Shire


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