In 1993, three eight year old boys were murdered in West Memphis, Arkansas; Christopher Byers, Steven Branch and Michael Moore. There are many stories in the media over the last ten years since this happened; not only about the children, but about the three male teens who were tried and convicted of their murder, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. In total there are six victims, not counting the extensive amount of family and friends this also involved. Academy Award nominated filmmaker, Amy Berg (Deliver Us From Evil, 2006) has brought the story back into the public awareness, for those who missed or had forgotten about this case, in the documentary West of Memphis.
The film is in Austin theaters now and was an Official Selection at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Deauville American Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival. The story that Berg wrote and directed is very moving and at times very difficult to watch as the graphic images are shown across the screen of the murdered children. It is also very jarring when the new evidence is presented about the murders and viewing how the judicial system in Arkansas is handled. The teens who were targeted for these murders, and on death row for eighteen years, kept a legal fight going and it is Echols and his wife Lorri Davis, who tell the story of their fight to keep him alive and prove his and his friends innocence about the crime. Echols and Davis are first time filmmakers, who in collaboration with Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, along with others, produce West of Memphis.
The film has been nominated and won several awards last year and this year, and the list can be viewed at www.imdb.com/title/tt2130321/awards
The film is screening in Austin at the Violet Crown Cinema, the Regal Arbor Cinema 8 at Great Hills and will be playing at the multiple Santiko Theaters in San Antonio (8) and Houston (3) on March 22nd.
Source: [Sony Classics, Santiko Theaters, Regal Arbor]