Sophie Deraspe’s Sundance documentary The Amina Profile tells the story of an international love story that was eventually revealed as a Catfish-type hoax, focusing on the plight of the victim, Sandra—whom the filmmaker personally knew beforehand—rather than the perpetrator.
As Deraspe explains to Filmmaker Magazine, the story “has all the ingredients of a spy thriller” though the filmmaker chose to make it as a documentary rather than a narrative.
“The Amina Profile is a documentary about a huge fiction,” she says. “At first, when Sandra gave me her archives and the right to make a film about her story, it wasn’t clear if it would be a doc or a drama. All of it had happened online and didn’t give me much to grab on to in terms of visuals. Nevertheless, the reality was more compelling than anything that could be constructed, and the fact that I felt it wasn’t the end of the story yet, that more was yet to come, pushed me toward a documentary.”
In retrospect, Deraspe finds it serendipitous that she was there to observe Sandra go through her ordeal and then able to convince her to let her make a movie about it. “It’s funny that life put this project in my hands. My first feature film, Missing Victor Pellerin, was about the construction of a con artist,” she explains. “I used a documentary approach and the complicity of real people with their own backgrounds to elaborate a persona. Now with The Amina Profile the process is reversed. I am deconstructing an international hoax perpetrated in the personal as well as the sociological sphere. And I had to use narrative film codes to allow the audience to become immersed in this huge fantasy. In both films, our perception of reality is deceived, and then questions arise about what is truth and what is not, what and who can we trust, and what are the consequences of posing as someone else.”
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