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American Thief

A secret plot to derail the 2016 presidential election connects a teen hacker seeking revenge, a rogue conspiracy vlogger searching for truth, and a mysterious artificial intelligence programmer who knows too much. 

  • Miguel Silveira
    Devil's Work, I Am a Visitor In Your World, Rooftop Wars, Namibia Brasil
  • Miguel Silveira
  • Michel Stolnicki
  • Missy Hernandez
  • Michel Stolnicki
  • Missy Hernandez
  • Xisco Maximo Monroe
    Key Cast
  • Khadim Diop
    Key Cast
  • Josafina Scaro
    Key Cast
    "Josephine Romanoff"
  • Ben Becher
    Key Cast
    "Paul Hunter"
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    Doc-thriller, Narrative Fiction, Hybrid
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 21 minutes 28 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    July 31, 2020
  • Production Budget:
    400,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Oldenburg
    September 20, 2020
Distribution Information
  • Film Movement
    Country: United States
    Rights: All Rights
Director Biography - Miguel Silveira

Miguel Silveira is a director, writer, and arts educator who makes films dedicated to investigating social issues in contemporary culture. His recent works include “I Am A Visitor In Your World” — a feature documentary that follows a young woman’s struggle with the medical costs of her terminal illness, “Venezuela: The Sounds of Peace” for MTV’s TV documentary series “Rebel Music” which follows musicians and activists as they use their music to fight for change, and “Devil’s Work” — a short film about a young boy’s search for answers after his war veteran father commits suicide. Silveira’s most recent film, “American Thief”, is a feature narrative fiction/documentary hybrid about a teen hacker who unexpectedly becomes a pawn in a plot to derail the 2016 presidential elections. “American Thief” is a Jerome Foundation Film and Video grantee and participant in the 2017 IFP Narrative Completion Lab that will begin its festival run in 2020.

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Director Statement

"American Thief" was filmed and scripted around true events in New York City from 2015 through 2018. What originally started as a seemingly simple story about a teenager searching for the man who killed his father -- to be filmed with a skeletal script and minimal crew over the course of several weekends -- quickly turned into a far more complex and exciting journey. Working with an extremely limited budget, we shot what we could until we were forced to break to find additional funds. So we produced the film in five major segments over the course of several years, which allowed me to rework and deepen our story by connecting its fictional narrative to the troubling reality of what was unfolding before us. The public became aware of the government's surveillance of ordinary Americans and grew increasingly wary of the information they willingly shared on social media. Cybersecurity became a hot-button issue in the presidential debates. The DNC got hacked. Russia was accused of meddling in the election. Fake news. Facebook.

The fictional world of our story collided with the real world, and the directing needed to complement this. Drawing from the influence of Haskell Wexler's "Medium Cool", I brought our actors to witness and participate in real events as their fictional characters. They attended protest rallies and marches, weaved their way through costumed strangers during the Halloween Parade and searched for answers amidst the anxious crowd outside Rockefeller Center on election night. Together we watched from the crowd at the National Mall as the Trumps walked the Obamas to their helicopter and assumed their positions as President and First Lady.

The story's narrative is also grounded by street interviews of real New Yorkers offering their distinct points-of-view on race, class, and the 2016 election. The result is an electrifying thriller; a true hybrid film that offers a look at a polarizing moment in American History, and asks the quintessential question of our time: "What the fuck is going on?"