by Robert Bell
In advance of last night's HBO premiere of "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory," The AV Club published an interview with Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger, the duo behind the "Paradise Lost" documentaries and, arguably, two of the key figures responsible for the eventual release of the West Memphis Three.
Among many other topics, the two discuss how Arkansans' perceptions of the WM3 and of the filmmakers themselves changed over the years, from distrust or hostility to an appreciation of their work.
"Local Arkansans weren’t sure of what to think of us during the making of the first film," Berlinger said. "Some people were suspicious, some not. When we went back to make the second film, we were literally spit upon. People had no use for us in Arkansas. They thought that we had made them look bad purposely. That we had an agenda."
Sinofsky noted that a lot of the local media changed their tune over the years as well, including many of the same people who wanted nothing to do with the filmmakers initially.
Berlinger said "there was a big swing in local opinion. The local media went from convicting those guys during the first trial to championing the cause of innocence in the mid-2000s. By the time we came back for that August 19 hearing, that was the thing that impressed me the most, because I was expecting people to be very negative towards us. I can’t tell you how many regular Arkansans embraced us."
The whole interview is well worth your time, and there are some interesting — reasonable, even — discussions in the comments section.