Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh have announced their production company, WingNut Films, have wrapped a new documentary about the notorious wrongful conviction case of the West Memphis Three.
West of Memphis tells the story of Damien Echolls, Jason Baldwin, Jessie Misskelley Jr., three Arkansans who were arrested for a triple homicide in 1993 and spent over 18 years in prison before finally being released. Echolls and wife Lorri Davis are also serving as producers; documentarian Amy Berg, whose Deliver Us from Evil was nominated for an Oscar, is directing the film.
“This film represents the trial these men didn’t have,” says Berg in the announcement. “With the support of Damien and Lorri, along with unprecedented access to those closest to the case, we were able to make a film that shows the inner workings of the defense — the investigation, research, and appeals process, in a way that has never been shown before.” Jackson and Walsh have a personal connection to the case, having helped to fund the effort to exonerate the three men starting in 2005. Other celebrities like Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder have also contributed financial assistance, as well as attracted sustained national attention to their plight.
West of Memphis won’t be the first film to tackle the subject of the West Memphis Three. Filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky have made three documentaries chronicling the case: Paradise Lost in 1996 and two subsequent sequels, the second of which is scheduled to be released in January.