New WM3 doc
With the release of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin last August, it's pretty much a lock that the "Paradise Lost" trilogy of films — the documentaries about the West Memphis Three case by filmmakers Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger — are front and center any time anyone wants to talk about the real-world power of documentary film. Now Echols, his wife, Lorri Davis, and filmmakers Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh want to give their own take on the WM3 story, and possibly help clear the names of the accused, with a new doc called "West of Memphis." The film, which was recently completed under the umbrella of Jackson's Wingnut Films, is produced by Echols and Davis, with Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Amy Berg in the director's chair.
A press release said "West of Memphis" has been in the works since 2008, and promises new interviews and information in the case, including evidence pointing to new suspects. Jackson and Walsh, creators of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, became involved with supporters of the WM3 in 2005, and have spent years quietly bankrolling the search for new evidence to exonerate the three men, including hiring private detectives and renting out a house once occupied by the family of one of the three murdered boys so their investigators could dig up a filled-in swimming pool and sift the dirt for potential clues.
Berg hopes her film can have an impact in the case. "This film represents the trial these men didn't have," Berg said. "With the support of Damien and Lorri, along with unprecedented access to those closest to the case, we were able to make a film that shows the inner workings of the defense — the investigation, research, and appeals process, in a way that has never been shown before. This film began as a study about innocence; but I feel it goes beyond that now — it asks the question, what value do we, as a society, place on the truth?"
"West of Memphis" is currently seeking a distributor and has no firm release date, but you can bet it will play big in Arkansas.