“West of Memphis,” the new doc on the WM3 case produced by Damien Echols, Lorri Davis, “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson and his partner Fran Walsh, has caused an astounding level of buzz with its debut at Sundance this weekend, where it played to sold-out crowds. Brendan Walsh of ScreenCrave.com gives a glowing early review above, live from the festival. Other highlights of the weekend’s coverage:
Q&A WITH DAMIEN ECHOLS AT SUNDANCE: Insightful, sobering stuff.
ACCUSATIONS: “West of Memphis” apparently dances right up to the line of accusing Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of victim Stevie Branch, of the murders. Asked about whether the WM3 team fears a civil lawsuit from Hobbs, WM3 attorney Dennis Riordan invited Hobbs to “have at it,” noting that a suit would require Hobbs to be deposed under oath about the case.
LAST MINUTE CHANGES: The Wall Street Journal reports that director Amy Berg was still tweaking the film, rushing to put in a few last-minute interviews, only days before the film’s Sundance debut. Peter Jackson later talked to MTV about the reason for the down-to-the-wire additions to the film and the ongoing fight to exonerate the WM3.
WHY JACKSON HELPED: Jackson told reporters that part of the reason he took up the WM3 cause was because he was bullied and picked on for being different as a child.
TURTLES: Several early reviews (including this one from the Toronto Star) report on one of the more disturbing scenes in the film, in which several alligator snapping turtles are set loose on the carcass of a dead pig in a glass tank in order to show how the injuries seen on the bodies of the three murdered 8-year-olds could have been caused by wildlife.