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Film Festival Today

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The West Memphis Three

Written by: FFT Webmaster | March 1st, 2012

In what has become an on-going saga of the justice system getting it wrong, a new documentary on the West Memphis Three, young men who were convicted of murdering three young boys in Arkansas nearly 20 years ago, has been acquired for theatrical release by Sony Pictures Classics. The film, directed by Amy Berg, was produced by Peter Jackson (THE LORD OF THE RINGS), his producing partner Fran Walsh and Damien Echols, one of the men convicted of the crime. The West Memphis Three were finally released from prison in late 2011 after a private detective working on behalf of them found evidence linking another person to the crime. The men claimed that they confessed under police duress and that witnesses lied under pressure from local police to quickly prosecute the grisly murders that shook the country. WEST OF MEMPHIS had its international debut at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.

The case also spawned a trilogy of celebrated documentaries by filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky called PARADISE LOST, which followed the case from its ignoble beginnings to the release of the men a few months ago. In fact, the third installment of the series, which was produced by HBO Documentary Films, was one of 5 films vying for the Best Documentary Oscar last Sunday (the winner being the sports documentary UNDEFEATED). In an interesting twist, the subject will be given a dramatic treatment in the feature film DEVIL’S KNOT, to be directed by Atom Egoyan and set to star Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon. Shooting for the feature begins this summer.

“In 2009, Peter Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh approached me to make a film which documented the defense’s battle to overturn the guilty verdicts in the case of the West Memphis Three,” director Amy Berg said in a statement. “After spending more than two years on the ground filming in Arkansas, the blatant injustice of the case was very apparent.” For more information on the film, visit: http://www.westofmemphisfilm.com/

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