Hacked Circuit

Deborah Stratman

2014 | 00:15:08 | United States | English | Color | Dolby 5.1 | 16:9 | HD video

Collection: Single Titles

Tags: Film or Videomaking, Sound, Television

A single-shot, choreographed portrait of the Foley* process, revealing multiple layers of fabrication and imposition. The circular camera path moves inside and back out of a Foley stage in Burbank, California.  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.


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Prizes + Awards

Best Experimental Film – Vila do Conde Short Film Festival

Best Sound Design – Ann Arbor Film Festival

Best Short Documentary – Ashland Independent Film Festival

Videorama Award / Best Experimental Film – Timishort International Film Festival

Cinema Eye Honors shortlist – Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Short Filmmaking

Tiger Short Competition Nominee – International Film Festival Rotterdam


Sundance Film Festival
Park City, UT

Exhibitions + Festivals

Sundance Film Festival – January 2014  (North American Premiere)

International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands – January 2014  (European Premiere)

Documentary Fortnight, MoMA, NYC – February 2014

True/False Festival, Columbia, MO – February 2014

CounterIntelligence (Film Program 2), Justine M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto, ON – March 2014

Ann Arbor Film Festival, MI – March 2014

Courtisane Festival, Ghent, Belgium – April 2014

Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Durham, NC – April 2014

Crossroads Festival, San Francisco, CA – April 2014

Images Festival, Toronto, ON – April 2014

Collinsville Film Festival, CT – April 2014

Ashland Independent Film Festival, Oregon – April 2014

Mad Stork Cinema, Austin, TX – April 2014

Dallas International Film Festival – April 2014

Nashville Film Festival, TN – April 2014

EMAF (European Media Art Festival), Osnabrück, Germany – April 2014

Docaviv Film Festival, Tel Aviv, Israel – May 2014

Videoex Festival, Zurich, Switzerland – May 2014

Edinburgh International Film Festival – June 2014

City 46 Kommunalkino, Bremen, Germany – June 2014

Rooftop Films Summer Series, NYC – June, 2014

Curtas Vila do Conde IFF, Portugal – July 2014

Guanajuato International Film Festival, Mexico – July 2014

Syros International Film Festival, Greece – July 2014

Traverse City Film Festival, Michigan – July 2014

Melbourne International Film Festival, Australia – August 2014

DokuFest, Kosovo – August 2014

Kinoforum, Sao Paulo International Short Film Festival, Brazil – August 2014

25FPS Festival, Zagreb, Croatia – September, 2014

FestCurtasBH (Belo Horizonte Int’l Short Film Festival), Brazil – September, 2014

Camden Film Festival, Maine – September, 2014

Falling Apart, Helsinki, Finland – September, 2014

CORTR3S Festival de Cine, Honduras – September, 2014

Festival du Nouveau Cinema, Montreal – October 2014

Timishort Film Festival, Timisoara, Romania – October 2014

Curtocircuito, Santiago de Compostela, Spain – October 2014

Loft Fest, Tuscon – October 2014

Viennale Film Festival, Austria – October 2014

Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Czech Republic – October 2014

Mothlight Microcinema, Detroit – October 2014

International Kurzfilmtage Winterthur, Switzerland – November 2014

AFI Festival, Los Angeles – November 2014

Goethe Institute, Paris (EMAF touring program) – November 2014

Houston Cinema Arts Festival, TX – November 2014

Seen & Heard Film Festival, Melbourne – November 2014

Torino Film Festival, Italy – November 2014

Les Recontres Internationales, Paris – Decebmer 2014

Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival (BIEFF) – December 2014

Human Rights Film Festival, Zagreg, Croatia – December 2014