Fantastic Fest 2016 Review: Fraud

by Alex White, Film Festival Correspondent for larry411.com

Many in the film world know and openly acknowledge that Fantastic Fest is not your typical film festival. For well over a decade, Fantastic Fest has made a point of stretching the idea of what belongs at the festival and what is truly “fantastic.”

In the last couple years, Fantastic Fest has expanded that idea of fantastic to include a couple pieces of what would best be called visual art rather than just straight-up film. Last year, Fantastic Fest welcomed Ross Sutherland’s video performance piece Standby for Tape Backup which went on to score a top three audience award finish.

This year however, Fantastic Fest went for something more subtle and all together more disturbing. This year brought the controversial, stunning and mind-melting FRAUD to the Fantastic Fest audience. Directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp, FRAUD tells a false narrative using manipulated YouTube footage from one family’s YouTube channel as well as other various clips. The footage used is chopped up and spliced together in a rough found-footage style but the narrative is clear, comprehendible and all-together engrossing. Even knowing the title of the film, it’s quite easy to get lost in the story on the screen and believe what you are seeing on screen to be the truth. In fact, it’s almost mind-boggling to think that what you see is manipulated because it all goes together and has a solid linear narrative. Everything makes sense.

There’s no other way to put this besides this film with either wow or annoy those who see it. This is visual art and art is naturally divisive. The story that is presented will cause an audience to challenge what they see playing out on screen in the future in a different way after seeing this film. While the title and the film’s logline admits to the manipulation of the footage, several people at both the Toronto HotDocs festival and Fantastic Fest left the theater angry while others like me loved it and found the whole film fascinating. Personally, I was clearly a member of the latter group. Films that challenge the viewer and make them think are important and need to be seen. Those types of films advance the art-form and that’s what this type of film is. As mentioned before, FRAUD is quite simply…art.

Whether you want to call it a documentary or a mockumentary is up to you. Either way, FRAUD is a challenging film worth seeking out and investing in. You will be a smarter moviegoer and stronger thinker after your experience with this piece. There’s simply nothing like it out there.

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For more information on Fantastic Fest 2016 please visit fantasticfest.com

OFFICIAL SITE: fraud.film

DIRECTOR SITE: deanfleischercamp

DIRECTOR TWITTER: @dfleischercamp

FRAUD


Author

Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at Larry411.com

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  • Author: Larry Richman
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