Boiled down, Dave Itzkoff‘s 12.4 N.Y. Times piece about duelling Arkansas murder case documentaries reports how producer Peter Jackson and director Amy Berg‘s West of Memphis, a doc that will screen at Sundance 2012, has muscled in on the investigative territory that documentarians Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky have been mining for 15 years.
Berlinger and Sinofsky have made three docs — Paradise Lost: The Murders at Robin Hood Hills (’96), Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (’00) and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (due to premiere on HBO in January 2012) about wrongly convicted Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., a.k.a., the “West Memphis Three“.
I’ve only seen the latter, but all three delve into the 1994 murders of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas, and cast doubts about their guilt and the credibility of witnesses and evidence.
And yet Jackson, Itzkoff reports, has been following the case of the trio since 2005, and financed (along with wife Fran Walsh) an investigation that “yielded new findings that might have led to a new evidentiary hearing or even a new trial” if not for a plea deal accepted by Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley that resulted in their freedom. So it’s not like Jackson has no territorial rights in this matter, so to speak.