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The P.A. that saved the WM3

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Joe Berlinger, one of the directors behind the "Paradise Lost" films about the West Memphis Three, took part in a panel discussion last week at the Little Rock Film Festival about the ways the media had influenced the case. One attendee asked Berlinger how the filmmakers were finally able to win the court's approval – after months of trying – to record the trial of Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin. Berlinger said he had never discussed the topic publicly.

"It was two weeks before the trial and we still hadn't gotten permission," he said. "We were filming a meeting where [local officials] were talking about security. Because there was a change of venue to Corning and the courtroom didn't have the right equipment, they were wondering about the P.A. system. We chimed in and said, 'If you let us film, we can provide a really sophisticated P.A. system.' I honestly believe that was the thing that turned it all. They knew that we wanted to film and they were considering it and we were already half way there, so I don't want to lay it all on that. But ... we installed a very professional P.A. system that made the trial so good to hear, courtesy of HBO. That was the thing that tipped it over the edge. I think those guys probably rue the day that it happened. And thank God we got that footage, because these guys would literally be dead and there would be no story," (for more go to arktimes.com/wm3media).

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