By Chris Nashawaty
Updated January 13, 2012 at 02:27 PM EST
  • Movie

A freight train’s whistle sounds. Then a voice. “Nothing ever happens in West Memphis, Arkansas.” If only that were true.

For the past seven years, director Peter Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh have quietly financed investigations to help free Jason Baldwin, Jesse Misskelley Jr., and Damien Echols — a.k.a. the West Memphis Three — who were convicted in 1994 of murdering three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Ark. On Jan. 20, West of Memphis, the documentary Jackson and Walsh produced about their findings, will premiere at Sundance. Until then, Jackson has provided EW with an exclusive first look at the film’s trailer.

Back in August, Baldwin, Misskelley, and Echols were released after 18 years in prison, marking the culmination of a long campaign that began with the 1996 HBO doc Paradise Lost: The Child Killings at Robin Hood Hills. Now, Jackson and Walsh’s film (which was directed by Amy Berg and whose poster was exclusively revealed here yesterday) shows why they never should have been arrested in the first place. Says Echols, who is also a producer on the film, “When Peter and Fran came onto this case, that was the first time that I had the feeling of, ‘Okay, something is finally being done. Finally someone is looking out for me. Someone is trying to move this mountain.'”

West of Memphis

  • Movie
  • R
  • 146 minutes
  • Amy Berg