August 17, 2018
Exclusive

Watch: How a Filmmaker Edited a Family's Home Movies to Craft a Fictional Narrative

A mockumentary culled from found footage? A doc-com? A hybrid? Dean Fleischer-Camp's 'Fraud' often defies description.

If a film's visuals provide ideas, the edit in which they're strung together provides the meaning. Perhaps no greater example of this exists than in Dean Fleischer-Camp's Fraud, a found-footage documentary that's very description should come bookended by quotation marks. 

Surveying over 100 hours of footage derived from a nuclear family's personal Youtube channel, Fleischer-Camp and his editor pick-and-chose isolated moments from the family's home movies, creating a devious, dark narrative that implicated the parents as criminals desiring insurance money. Of course, none of this was true; Fleischer-Camp structured the footage in such a way that only made it appear as such. 

As the film debuts on digital platforms today, we're excited to host an exclusive, behind-the-scenes look at how the cinematic magic trick of illusion was pulled off. 

Speaking with No Film School when the film initially premiered, Fleischer-Camp noted that sound editing was just as crucial to establishing a fictional narrative from these very real people's lives. Given the fictional context, any line of dialogue pulled from a seemingly innocent event could be perceived as incriminating.

"Initially, I thought I would make a short film or an art installation with it," Fleischer-Camp told NFS, "however, when we started pairing [Gary, the father figure in the footage]'s little sound bytes with footage that wasn't his and saw how quickly our brains integrated it into their story, we started to realize we could tell a longer form story with this. One of the first things was when my editor Johnathan [Rippon] stumbled upon some footage of him saying, "All the way down to the bottom! Down down down!" — he's talking about shoveling snow. We paired it with the footage of the car going into the lake and we were amazed at ourselves."     

'FRAUD' is available digitally worldwide on iTunes, Amazon Video, VUDU, Google Play & Microsoft Movies & TV starting today, Fri., August 17th courtesy of Gunpowder & Sky.  To celebrate the digital release, FRAUD will play on Saturday, Aug. 18th at Downtown Independent in Los Angeles as part of the SELECTIVE MEMORY weekly screening series showcasing innovative non-fiction films that take on, reimagine, confront, confound, distort and blur our traditional definition of documentary film. FRAUD will also play at the Museum of Moving Image in New York as part of The New Genres: Videos in the Internet Age series.  

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