A series of free screenings is set in Arkansas and Tennessee for "West of Memphis," the new documentary on the West Memphis Three murder case.
The movie contains new information aimed at further establishing the innocence of the three men originally convicted in the slaying of three children in 1993 and suggesting other avenues of investigation. A $200,000 reward has been offered for information leading to arrests and convictions. For now, the case is officially closed. A plea bargain in which the original defendants pleaded guilty while asserting innocence led to their release from prison last year.
The movie will be shown free in Little Rock, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Blytheville and Mountain Home. Full details follow on the jump. The movie is scheduled for commercial release in Decmeber.
A series of special free promotional screenings of West of Memphis, the soon to be released documentary directed by Amy Berg and produced by Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Damien Echols and Lorri Davis, are taking place in Arkansas and Tennessee.
According to producers, these special screenings of the film will provide a unique opportunity for Arkansans to see first hand the evidence that led the Arkansas Supreme Court to reopen the case.
Sir Peter Jackson said, “The West Memphis Three case continues to define the world's view of the Arkansas justice system, and the way in which it serves its citizens. It's the story of a justice system derailed by personal bias, incompetence and abuse of power.
“So many elected officials within the Arkansas justice system have put their political career aspirations ahead of their duty to deliver justice to the people of their state, the wrongfully accused, and especially the families of the victims in the West Memphis Three case.
“Yet it's ironic that their individual roles in this case will define their shameful place in history, long after their political careers are forgotten. And they deserve nothing less.
“As the people of Arkansas decide on who their next round of elected officials will be in November, it's our hope that our movie will inspire people across the state to deliver a simple message to all politicians: This is not good enough!”
One year after Damien Echols was released from a death sentence and Jason Baldwin and Jesse Misskelley were freed from life in prison, the investigation into the murder of three children in West Memphis, Arkansas on May 5, 1993, continues.
West of Memphis examines the tragically flawed police investigation and chronicles the new investigation funded by Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and others. The documentary presents new witnesses and forensic evidence that exonerates the three men and points to others as responsible for the murder of the three children. It also uncovers how the Arkansas justice system failed to protect those it was intended to serve.
Director Amy Berg says, “This film reveals the failures of our criminal justice system, and can serve as a platform for a broader discussion of what value do we, as a society, place on the truth? We hope that any light we can help shed on the case through these special screenings will encourage the state of Arkansas to exonerate Damien, Jason and Jesse. Although the three men are out of jail, they are not free.”
“The DNA evidence alone, as shown in the film, unequivocally exonerates these men,” said Barry Scheck, Director of the Innocence Project. “It is a gross miscarriage of justice that DNA evidence was overlooked and that officials, concerned with their own political gains, ignored the truth staring them in the face.”
Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were freed in August 2011, after serving eighteen years in the wrongful conviction murder of three children in 1993. Their freedom was based upon a plea agreement in which, while maintaining their innocence, the three agreed to an Alford plea. The men, who unequivocally claim they are innocent, have vowed to continue to fight to seek justice in the case and want the real killers to be found.
Capi Peck, founder of Arkansas Take Action, said, “It is time that those who know who committed this terrible crime come forward and provide information that can put this stain on the Arkansas criminal justice system to rest. We do not intend to stop until those responsible are brought to justice, and those who spent half their lives imprisoned are exonerated.”
Those with important information on this case are urged to call the confidential tip line at 501.556.1775. There is a $200,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the murders of Stevie Branch, Chris Byers and Michael Moore. For further information go to: http://www.westofmemphisfilm.com.
West of Memphis, which was recently shown at the Toronto Film Festival, will formally open in New York and Los Angeles on December 25, 2012.
The Arkansas and Tennessee screening schedule is:
Little Rock Screenings
9/12, 9/13, 10/2, 10/3, 10/9, 10/10, 10/30, 11/1 at 7 p.m.
Market Street 5
1521 Merrill Dr.
Little Rock, AR 72211
Memphis, Tennessee Screenings
9/12, 9/25, 10/30 at 7 p.m.
Malco Paradiso Cinema 16
584 S Mendenhall Rd
Memphis, TN 38117
Cordova, Tennessee Screenings
9/13, 9/26, 11/1 at 7 p.m.
Malco Cordova 15
1080 N Germantown Pkwy
Cordova, TN 38018
Jonesboro, Arkansas Screenings
9/18, 9/19, 10/2, 10/3, 10/16, 10/17 at 7 p.m.
152407 E Parker Rd
Jonesboro, AR 72401
Hot Springs, Arkansas Screenings
9/18, 9/19, 10/23, 10/24 at 7 p.m.
Hot Springs Mall Cinema
4501 Central Ave
Hot Springs, AR 71913
Mountain Home Arkansas Screenings
9/25, 9/26, 10/16, 10/17 at 6 p.m.
Carmike Village 5
729 State Highway 62 E
Mountain Home, AR 72653
Blytheville, Arkansas Screenings
10/9, 10/10, 10/23, 10/24 at 5 p.m.
Blytheville Cinema 3
301 N Service Rd