Sony Pictures Classic announced last week that the Amy Berg-directed and Peter Jackson-produced film, West of Memphis will be coming to a theater near you. Several TORn readers wondered if they would be able to view the film after TORn was invited to see the film at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. The film is powerful, important and deserving of a wide audience and the answer is officially “yes.” The film will be available in theaters to many fans.

Jackson and wife Fran Walsh have been involved with two subjects of the film who are also producers and had a chance to contribute to telling their own story. Damien Echols, who sat on death row for 18 years and his wife Lori Davis, fought to have Echols exonerated for the murder of three eight year old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Echols and the other two men (Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr.) were teens when convicted, were released late in 2011 by entering an Alford guilty plea while maintaining their innocence.

West of Memphis, takes a long look at one of the victim’s stepfathers and recently a $100,000 reward, provided by an anonymous donor, was offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer in the case. The film, especially when it hits a wide release, may force the justice system of Arkansas to take a further look into the case. Those defending the three, including Jackson and Walsh, want the West Memphi Three’s names completely cleared, now that they have gained their freedom. (Video and the official press release after the break). Continue reading “Fans will see Peter Jackson’s ‘West of Memphis’”

Film and celebrity media flock to Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival so the Peter Jackson-produced West Memphis Three is grabbing a lot of media attention. Staffer Maegwen sends in two clips from E! with video of director Amy Berg, Jackson and Damien Echols, one of the West Memphis Three. They slip in some Hobbit content too. You can view it if you click here.
The next video has some Hobbit content from the first link but starts with Elijah Wood saying that returning to New Zealand was like a family reunion in a Hobbity context. You can view that one here, with extra Sundance content after Middle-earth chat is over.

PARK CITY — There were tears and cheers and moans and even laughs at absurd real-life characters in the new Peter Jackson-produced documentary, West Memphis Three, at its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.

Directed by Amy Berg, the movie was commissioned by Jackson and wife Fran Walsh after the pair saw the first HBO documentary that spread the story of the West Memphis Three. The trio was convicted in 1994 of murdering three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas and has long been an the subject of intense media scrutiny. Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were, according to many, completely innocent and clearly wrongly convicted. The justice system of Arkansas does not agree.

Jackson and Walsh watched the original HBO documentary, Paradise Lost, that focuses on the case and the doubts that surround it. That original film has grown into three.

“It made us angry and it made us sad and we called Lori (Davis, Echol’s wife) and asked if there was anything we could do,” Jackson said. Continue reading “Peter Jackson brings Damien Echols from prison to Sundance, ‘West of Memphis’ points fingers”

Peter Jackson, on his Facebook page, has written an essay about the West Memphis Three who were released from prison, one from death row two from life without parole, and released after 18 years, accused of the murder of three children. The news, as the essay makes clear, is very important to Jackson, the director behind Middle-earth films and friend to You can read his Facebook post here.