Posts Tagged 'Paradise Lost'

Academy Award Nods to MFF Documentary Alums Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky, Marshall Curry

PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY by MFF Alums Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

After over 20 years of painstaking work, MFF Alums Joe Berliner and Bruce Sinofsky have received a Best Documentary Academy Award nomination for their film PARADISE LOST 3: PURGATORY, the conclusion of the award-winning trilogy on the West Memphis Three, a trio of Arkansas teenagers who were found guilty of a triple homicide despite questionable evidence.

MFF Alums Bruce Sinofsky and Joe Berlinger

Arriving on the scene just days after the 1993 arrests, the filmmakers initially assumed they were making a documentary about guilty teenagers. But, after embedding themselves in the community prior to the 1994 trials, they came to question the guilt of the West Memphis 3 and, by the time the trials were over, they were convinced that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were the victims of a modern-day witch hunt.

Also receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary is MFF alum Marshall Curry for his film IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT.

In December 2005, Daniel McGowan was arrested by Federal agents in a nationwide sweep of radical environmentalists involved with the Earth Liberation Front— a group the FBI has called America’s “number one domestic terrorism threat.”

For years, the ELF—operating in separate anonymous cells without any central leadership—had launched spectacular arsons against dozens of businesses they accused of destroying the environment: timber companies, SUV dealerships, wild horse slaughterhouses, and a $12 million ski lodge at Vail, Colorado.

IF A TREE FALLS: A STORY OF THE EARTH LIBERATION FRONT tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of this ELF cell, by focusing on the transformation and radicalization of one of its members.

IN DARKNESS by Agnieszka Holland

Polish filmmaker Agnieszka Holland (director of several films, among which include WASHINGTON SQUARE and two episodes of The Wire, shot in Baltimore) has received a Foreign Language Film Academy Award nomination for her new film, IN DARKNESS.

During World War II, numerous Jews hid from Nazis in the underground sewer systems of major cities. This veritable labyrinth of underground passages, full of rats and waste, provided a safe haven as the Nazis starved and ultimately liquidated the ghettos.  Based on a true story, IN DARKNESS portrays this subterranean life through the experiences of Lvov sewer worker Leopold Socha (Robert Wieckiewicz) and the people he meets on his rounds.

Sundance Update: WEST OF MEMPHIS Builds on Legacy of MFF Alums Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky

Jed was in attendance for the high profile 2012 Sundance documentary screening of WEST OF MEMPHIS, the fourth film made about the infamous West Memphis Three murder trial.  This story was first chronicled in the acclaimed HBO documentary series PARADISE LOST made by MFF alums Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.

With the help of filmmaker Peter Jackson, the investigation of the West Memphis Three was able to continue, and investigators brought DNA information to light that proved the men who had been convicted of the crimes (Jessie Misskelley Jr., Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols) were wrongly imprisoned for the last 17 years.

After the screening, Jed got this picture of the crew (from left to right): film director Amy Berg, followed by the great Peter Jackson in the checked shirt, followed by his longtime partner Fran Walsh (producer, writer, composer, and wife) who is holding the hand of Lorri Davis, a principal in the film and advocate for the West Memphis Three. To Lorri’s left is Damien Echols, the one member of the West Memphis Three who was sentenced to death. He was on death row for 17 years, ending last August when the State of Arkansas released them.

The three great PARADISE LOST films were made over 17 years and are available On Demand now.

From Left to Right: Amy Berg (director), Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Lori Davis, Damien Echols