Film library » 2024 » DOCUMENTARY FEATURE » Film details
Citizen Sleuth - still #1
Citizen Sleuth - still #2
Citizen Sleuth - still #3

Citizen Sleuth

NY Premiere

Director: Chris Kasick

United States, 2023, 85 min

Shooting Format:Digital 4K

Festival Year:2024

Category:Documentary Feature

Genre:True Crime

Crew:Writer: Chris Kasick. Producers: Chris Kasick, Tyler Davidson, Fabiola Muñoz Washburn, Drew Sykes, Jared Washburn.


A true crime podcaster from Appalachia blurs the line between fact and entertainment as she investigates the mysterious death of a local girl.

Citizen Sleuth examines the ethics of the true crime genre and how the power of narrative affects truth, victims, and communities.

About the director

Chris Kasick is a producer and director. His feature documentary "Citizen Sleuth" premiered at SXSW 2023, Sheffield DocFest 2023, and IDFA 2023. Recent producing credits include a global Apple TV documentary series coming in August 2024. Chris is a long time collaborator with Errol Morris, working on "Fog of War" and "First Person." He previously directed the dark comedy, Uncle Nick, which is currently streaming on Amazon Prime. Chris is originally from Ohio and lived in the Mid-Ohio Valley where "Citizen Sleuth" takes place. He is the founder of CKC Productions.


Filmmaker's note

“Citizen Sleuth” began five years ago, when I first listened to Emily Nestor's “Mile Marker 181 Podcast.” Emily was conducting an amateur murder investigation into the death of Jaleayah Davis, teasing a cover-up by the Sheriff's Department. Having lived in Appalachia's Mid-Ohio Valley, I was drawn back to the community to document and add clarity to a local conspiracy theory that gripped the region.

Emily Nestor makes a compelling case for murder, lies, inconsistencies, nepotism, and mystery. When I began filming, I was convinced there was a miscarriage of justice. I had my own questions witnessing Emily's investigation and media rise. I wasn't the only one drawn in: her true crime podcast became a hit, receiving national coverage from Oxygen, Discovery ID, and Fox Nation.

Having worked with acclaimed documentarian Errol Morris for 20 years, I've learned not to make assumptions and to always challenge the narrative. I fully immersed myself into the investigation and Emily's journey. What I found was altogether unexpected. The truth was vastly different from what was being broadcasted to an audience of millions.

“Citizen Sleuth” evolved into a film about a narrator struggling to tell the truth. It's an intimate story of conscience, where fact and entertainment collide. Displayed in real time, was the ethical tight-rope journalists and filmmakers navigate in the modern media landscape. In pursuing the truth, the film is a showcase for how easily the pursuit can be compromised.

Related links