HBO will be airing the Bruce Sinofsky/Joe Berlinger final installment of their ‘Paradise Lost‘ trilogy with ‘Purgatory‘ next month, but Peter Jackson will be hitting the film circuit next year with his own documentary of the controversial high profile case.
HBO will air ‘Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory‘ which is on the Academy Award shortlist for Best Documentary next month, and below is the trailer and press conference for it. Sadly, I’m seeing some dejavu though with behind the scene squabbling which I saw firsthand when we were attempting to get this film made entitled appropriately enough ‘West Memphis Three‘ back in 2003. Berlinger and Sinofsky were once Executive Producers on that film, and I give them utmost respect for being the people who truly brought this injustice to light. When I heard that Peter Jackson was going to be making another ‘West Memphis Three’ documentary (West Of Memphis) with both Damian Echols and his wife Lori producing, I thought that was a great way for them to take a creative approach on clearing their names once and for all.
Just like back in 2003 where there were three ‘West Memphis Three’ films in development (actually one was the ‘Devil’s Knot‘ now being directed by Atom Egoyan), and I was excited that this would just bring more attention to the case. Was I ever in for a learning experience with all the behind the scenes squabbles that can happen when people forget what they’re making these kinds of films for in the first place. So many times, the main subjects get forgotten in everyone’s rush to cash in or just make their own name off someone else’s back. The New York Times reported earlier this month about the squabbling over interview subjects, it broke my heart that things just had not changed, although thankfully the real ‘West Memphis Three’ (Damian Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr) are now free. When filmmakers are in the press saying that they’re making documentaries to right a social injustice, it would behoove all to work together since it’s for one common good; showing the world how these three young men were mistreated by the justice system and hopefully bringing it too light so it won’t happen again. When all you are doing is fighting amongst yourselves over interview scraps, it’s time to really take stock and ask yourself if you’re making the film for all the right reasons.
Enough of that speachy crap, but I just hope that everyone realizes that there’s so much room at the table for all of these films, and it only helps the boys clear their names. The fact that they had to plead guilty to get out of the hell of prison just broke my heart, so I’m thankful that Peter Jackson is wanting to help them make their own case to the public which is something they never go a chance to do back in the early 90′s when no one knew who they were. The week they were to be releases, I was speaking to uber producer Don Murphy (who’s been like a film godfather to me) about going back to our film, but once we heard that Dimension’s ‘Devil’s Knot’ was back on the table, we were more than happy to let them tell their story since our whole reason for doing the film in the first place was to help those boys get a fair trial. Right now since the boys are out of prison, the people who really got screwed over by the state of Arkansas were the families of the victims who still don’t know who killed their sons and more than likely never will.
Hopefully history doesn’t repeat itself with so many ‘West Memphis Three’ projects in development and then none of them getting made. The real ‘West Memphis Three’ deserve so much better after everything they’ve been through.
Oh, and here’s the script for ‘West Memphis Three‘ that we had for the film to give those of you not familiar with this crazy story an idea of what its about. Definitely check out ‘Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory‘ which airs on HBO January 12, 2012 and give Joe and Bruce some kudos for really making an amazing change for these guys.
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory Premiere Panel – Best Movies Ever
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory Trailer – Best Movies Ever
Source: HBO Documentary Films: Paradise Lost 3 Purgatory Trailer