False Confessions

A film by Katrine Philp

Denmark/Germany | 2019 | 91 minutes | Color | DVD | English |

This film is currently available for preorder until mid-September

Defense attorney Jane Fisher-Byrialsen struggles to stop the interrogation techniques that pressure innocent people into false confessions


Law enforcement agencies across the United States commonly use a complex psychological tactic during police interrogations to get suspects to confess to crimes. Over the years, behind closed doors, in rooms devoid of recording devices, trained interrogators have been monumentally successful at getting defendants to confess, often without regard for whether or not the suspect is actually guilty. Experts say that under the right conditions, anyone could be compelled to make a false confession to a crime they have not committed. As unthinkable as it may seem, ordinary individuals, innocent but vulnerable to manipulative police interrogation techniques, regularly fall prey to this fate.

FALSE CONFESSIONS follows defense attorney Jane Fisher-Byrialsen as she fights to put an end to this institutionalized injustice. Through the stories of four of her cases, all involving false confessions, the film examines the psychological aspect of how people end up confessing to crimes they have not committed as well as the consequences of these confessions - for those accused, for their families and for society at large.


"A legal thriller from start to finish, FALSE CONFESSIONS shines a critical light on the dirty tactics that defy reason and betray our nation’s moral compass and path to real justice. Is the police force here to serve and protect, or to exploit and imprison?"

Shaheen Sayani LA Film Festival

"FALSE CONFESSIONS is shedding new light on the highly questionable, little-debated dark underbelly of the American justice system."

Zurich Film Festival

"This important new documentary will help to spread understanding of the very real phenomenon of false confessions and help us to understand why they happen and what we can do about them."

Making a Murderer Attorney Dean Strang

"Captivating, haunting. A devastating emotional journey."

Criterion Cast

"This documentary is necessary. It’s important that we as a people understand where, why, and how our freedom can be ripped from underneath us."

Film Snob Reviews


  • Documentary Special Jury Award for Excellence in Social Justice Storytelling, LA Film Festival
  • Politiken Audience Award, CPH:DOX
  • Doc NYC
  • Salem Film Festival
  • Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival
  • Zurich Film Festival


Katrine Philp

Katrine Philp was born in Denmark in 1978. She studied Film Production Design at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts and later graduated as a documentary director from the National Film School of Denmark in 2009. Her graduation film BOOK OF MIRI was nominated for Best Student Award at IDFA and won the President's Award at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the European Young CIVIS Media Prize in Germany.

Philp's debut film DANCE FOR ME (2012) screened at IDFA and won the Audience Award at the American Documentary Film Festival. In 2015 the film was nominated for an Emmy Award in the Outstanding Arts and Culture category. Her film HOME SWEET HOME competed in the Kids & Docs competition at IDFA and won a Danish Academy Award (Robert Prize) in 2016.

In 2014 Philp established the documentary production company Good Company Pictures with directors Kasper Astrup Schröder, Boris Bertram and producer Katrine A. Sahlstrøm.


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