Sony Pictures Classics acquires “West of Memphis”

The documentary from Amy Berg (pictured), which chronicles the recent investigation in the case of the "West Memphis Three," made its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
March 1, 2012

Sony Pictures Classics has acquired worldwide rights to Amy Berg’s West of Memphis.

The documentary, which made its debut at Sundance in January, follows the recent investigation into the case of the West Memphis Three, who were incarcerated for the 1993 murders of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The three men – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelly Jr. – were released from prison last year after accepting an Alford Plea.

The film is produced by the husband and wife team of Lord of the Rings helmer Peter Jackson and film composer and screenwriter Fran Walsh, as well as Echols and his wife, Lorri Davis.

“In 2009, Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Lorri Davis approached me to make a film which documented the defense’s battle to overturn the guilty verdicts in the case of the West Memphis Three,” said Berg (pictured above).

“After spending more than two years on the ground filming in Arkansas, the blatant injustice of the case was very apparent; my hope is that West of Memphis will lead to full exoneration for Damien, Jason and Jessie. In addition, I hope the film will serve as a platform for a broader discussion about the failures of our criminal justice system nationwide.

“I’m very excited for this powerful story to be making its way to theaters and know that having Sony Pictures Classics as our partner is the surest way to catapult our film to the widest possible audience,” she added.

SPC negotiated the deal with Jackson and Walsh’s manager, Ken Kamins, who is also the film’s executive producer.

About The Author
Daniele Alcinii is a news reporter at realscreen, the leading international publisher of non-fiction film and television industry news and content. He joins the rs team with journalism experience following a stint out west with Sun Media in Edmonton's Capital Region, and communications work in Melbourne, Australia and Toronto. You can follow him on Twitter at @danielealcinii.