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.
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
*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.
"Framed phenomenally within the logistical nightmare of this extravagant long take, consummately choreographed and yet borne all the while on a stirring spontaneity, Deborah Stratman’s movie is an ode to the efforts that go into making movies seem effortless, an apt focus for a film itself so accomplished."
- Ronan Doyle, Next Projection, 2014
"Hearing is believing—this is one of the points Debroah Stratman makes with her fantastic short film about foley artists, Hacked Circuit. While we often associate our eyes as the prime mover in our emotions when we watch a film, it’s our ears, Stratman argues, that moves us to really feel."
- Bryan Abrams, The Credits, 2014
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