Jason Baldwin and Holly Ballard Cameras in Court Arkansas Times North Little Rock Arkansas image

  • Stephen Bailey
  • Jason Baldwin and Holly Ballard

Last night, we kicked off the first night of the two-day “Cameras in the Court” event we’re co-sponsoring with the Clinton School for Public Service and the Little Rock Film Festival. The first “Paradise Lost” documentary screened as part of the LRFF’s monthly Argenta Film Series at the Argenta Community Theater. Afterwards, I moderated a discussion between Mara Leveritt, whose recent cover story is the impetus for the events, and Jason Baldwin and his girlfriend Holly Ballard.

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Tonight’s event, at 6 p.m. at the Clinton Presidential Library, will feature a more expansive discussion. RSVP details here.

Last night, Baldwin and Ballard talked about their life in Seattle. They have two cats. Jason rides his bike a lot. He’s taking community-college classes towards a bachelor’s degree. He said he’s considering trying to go to law school someday. Since he was released last year, he and Ballard said they’d traveled constantly, thanking supporters and advocating against the death penalty and on behalf of groups fighting wrongful convictions. Today, Baldwin and longtime WM3 supporter John Hardin announced the formation of a non-profit, Proclaim Justice, to advocate on behalf of those imprisoned for crimes they didn’t commit. See the group’s release on the jump.

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Joe Berlinger, one of the filmmakers of the “Paradise Lost” films, was scheduled to attend, but had a last-minute conflict arise. But I recalled something he said a year ago when I interviewed him as part of a similar panel at the Argenta Community Theater. He said that he and his filmmaking partner Bruce Sinofsky originally came to West Memphis expecting to make a movie about rotten teen-aged devil worshippers.

Baldwin said when they realized that wasn’t the story, they were afraid that would be the end of the project.

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“There came a point when they suspected we were innocent, and they were actually scared to call their boss, Sheila Nevins at HBO. Joe has said he was afraid that he’d be told to pack it up and come home. But when he told Sheila that he believed we were innocent and this was a totally different story, to her credit, she said, ‘Keep recording. Don’t stop!’ “