IFC Films acquired Sonia Kennebeck’s documentary thriller Enemies of the State, which investigates the complicated and bizarre case of alleged Wikileaks courier and Anonymous hacker Matt DeHart. IFC Films will release the film this summer.
Directed by Sonia Kennebeck, who previously explored government whistleblower intimidation in her Emmy-nominated documentary National Bird, the film is the product of years of extensive investigation, featuring in-depth interviews with the DeHart family as well as their attorneys, supporters, and detractors.
Enemies of the State blurs the line between reality and paranoia in its exploration of the stranger-than-fiction case of Matt DeHart, a member of hacktivist group Anonymous and alleged whistleblower who believes he was the target of a U.S. government conspiracy. This multifaceted documentary is alternately a compelling legal case study, an espionage thriller, and a thought-provoking work of investigative journalism – a tangled web of secrets and lies with an American family willing to go to any lengths to protect their son at its center. With extraordinary access to the lead characters and key sources, the film presents many contradicting viewpoints as it attempts to solve a mystery that has kept attorneys, activists, and journalists occupied for over a decade.
The documentary made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it caught the attention of critics for its timely subject matter and labyrinthine structure. In a review for Indiewire, Eric Kohn called the film “a fascinating and provocative study of today’s misinformation age”, adding that the film “works best when it investigates the nature of truth at a moment when it’s all too easy to obscure it”. Robert Daniels of RogerEbert.com praised the film’s ability to keep the audience guessing, writing, “the viewer is sucked into connecting dots that may not exist…[Kennebeck] uses our natural addiction to turn ambiguous clues into larger narratives for a shocking documentary that’s amazing at every turn”. Reviewing for Variety, Tomris Laffly noted that, “while ENEMIES OF THE STATE does not necessarily provide all the answers, it sneakily sharpens your analytical radar by its haunting end. And in today’s conspiracy theory fueled world, that just might be everything.”
Director Sonia Kennebeck added, “In a time of secrets, lies, and head-spinning conspiracy theories, this film will take you on a journey to uncover the truth, as puzzling as it may be. The turns our investigation took are real, and we are excited to share this incredible story in partnership with IFC who have brought some of the most thought-provoking independent films to American audiences.”