PARK CITY, Utah — The Peter Jackson-produced documentary “West of Memphis” premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday (January 20), chronicling the conviction, imprisonment and eventual release of West Memphis Three defendants Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, who were convicted in 1994 of brutally murdering three young boys in Arkansas, despite an overwhelming amount of reasons to believe otherwise.
Though Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were released from prison in August, they have still not been exonerated for the murders. “West of Memphis” aims to present new revelations about their innocence and another man’s role in the crime, and as such, the documentary is something of an ever-evolving work — so much so that a new, crucial interview was just shot and added to the documentary in the last week.
“Some witnesses came forward a very short time ago,” Jackson told MTV News about the new revelations. “[Director Amy Berg] was able to interview them about six days ago. We only just managed to get that particular interview with two young men into the movie, in time for the screenings today. It’s some fairly serious eyewitness statements that I think are going to hopefully push the resolution of the case a little bit further.”
Though the documentary is set to make its world premiere at Sundance, Jackson insists that the story is far from over.
“This is a story that has not come to an end yet. In fact, it’s very much not ended,” he said. “We have three guys that were released from prison but not exonerated, even though they did not do the crime. We have three young boys who were murdered in 1993, and the killer still walks free. So absolutely, this is not the end of the story. It’s ongoing. It’s literally developing on a daily basis right now.”
“West of Memphis” isn’t the first documentary about the trial. The “Paradise Lost” trilogy of documentaries — the last of which made its TV debut last week on HBO — also aimed to prove the West Memphis Three’s innocence.
The 2012 Sundance Film Festival is officially under way, and the MTV Movies team is on the ground reporting on the hottest stars and the movies everyone will be talking about in the year to come. Keep it locked with MTV Movies for everything there is to know about Sundance.