On October 17, the audience in the DGA’s Los Angeles Theater viewed the aftermath of infamous case of the “West Memphis Three” in director Amy Berg’s documentary West of Memphis.
West of Memphis follows the case of three teenagers—Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley—who were arrested and convicted for the murders of three eight-year old boys in the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas. Echols, Baldwin, and Misskelley were imprisoned 18 years for crimes they did not commit, and inspired both protests and a trio of documentaries by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky that ultimately led to their being freed. West of Memphis also explores new evidence about the case through interviews conducted with lawyers, judges, journalists, family members, witnesses, and the “West Memphis Three” themselves. Produced by DGA Award winning director Peter Jackson and one of its subjects, Damien Echols, West of Memphis premiered at the 2012 Sundance Festival and will be released by Sony Pictures Classics in December 2012.
Following the screening, Berg sat down with award-winning director Richard Pearce (Heartland, Leap of Faith, A Family Thing) for a discussion about the making of West of Memphis.
An Oscar-nominated filmmaker with a passion for social justice, Berg began her career as a journalist, producing documentary segments for CNN and earning Emmy Awards for her work with CBS News. She began her documentary film career with Deliver Us from Evil. Berg is currently working on projects ranging from women's boxing to music legend Janis Joplin. She has been a DGA member since 2011.