(directors/writers: Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn; screenwriter: Isabel Freeman; cinematographer: Nausheen Dadabhoy; editors: Isabel Freeman, Rabab Haj Yahya; music: Holland Andrews; cast: Faith Quinn (“face-veil” actress), Julia Weinberg (“face-veil” actress), Ava Breuer (Taylor “face-veil”); Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Sophie Compton, Reuben Hamlyn, Elizabeth Woodward; Utopia; 2023)
“Intriguing but unfulfilling investigative documentary.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
The feature film debut of directors Sophie Compton and Reuben Hamlyn is about the dangers of identity theft. They are co-directors and co-writers, along with writer Isabel Freeman, of this intriguing but unfulfilling investigative documentary that tells the story of a college co-ed, Taylor (Ava Breuer), an engineering student, who they interview. She tells them her horror story of how she tries to track down the ones who have digitally planted her face over the bodies of porn stars. She learns of this incident when her friend sends her a Pornhub link on the internet, where this gross form of revenge porn is found on an internet porn site. The bad guys use deepfakes to superimpose an image of someone else over someone else’s body.
In the last ten years this gross scam has become a shameful reality on the internet. But it’s a crime in only five states, and not in the one where Taylor resides.
In Taylor’s search for the bad guys, she finds two other women vics she recognizes (Faith Quinn & Julia Weinberg).
The names of the vics used are not their real names, as all the vics wish to remain anonymous fearing possible repercussions from the bad guys and do not want publicity.
Though I never heard of this sort of thing before watching this film, it caught my attention. I hope it becomes an enforceable federal law with jail time for the culprits. It’s not only a demeaning experience for the vics but becomes even worse if it shows up on a Google search of the vic’s name. It will falsely show the porn activity of the unfortunate innocent victim, which could be a bummer if looking for a job and their potential employer Googles their name.
It played at the SXSW Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 10/26/2023 GRADE: B