Monday, 23 January 2012

Joe Berlinger at ACMI for Paradise Lost 3 Premiere

Paradise Lost 3
Paradise Lost 3
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) will present the acclaimed documentary trilogy Paradise Lost when its multi-award winning filmmaker, Joe Berlinger, visits Melbourne for the Australian premiere of the Oscar-nominated Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.

Berlinger, whose celebrated documentaries include Brother's Keeper, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster and Crude, will visit ACMI to participate in a Q&A following the screening of the third and final instalment of the HBO documentary series.

On May 5 1993, the bodies of three eight year old boys were found next to a muddy creek in the wooded Robin Hood Hills area of West Memphis, Arkansas. A month later, three teenagers were arrested (Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelley) and accused and convicted of brutally raping, mutilating and killing the boys. Fraught with innuendoes of devil worship, allegations of coerced confessions and emotionally charged statements, the case remains one of the most sensational in state history.

Scored by Metallica, Paradise Lost 1: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills is a gripping account of a small-town justice system operating for a community rocked by a horrific crime. Desperate for a conviction amidst rumours that the homicides were satanically motivated, local authorities target three teenagers.  Paradise Lost 1 premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received numerous accolades, including an Emmy®, Peabody Awards, a Directors Guild of America nomination, and was named Best Documentary by the National Board of Review.

Five years on, co-directors Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky return to document the gruelling appeals process and fresh evidence in the case via Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000). Picking up where the first film left off, a small group of individuals inspired by Paradise Lost 1 hire a forensic investigator to re-examine the evidence. New clues are uncovered that point away from the imprisoned young men, sparking calls for an appeal. 

After eighteen years of covering what police described as an open-and-shut case, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) provides a stunning conclusion to one of the most notorious judicial cases in US history.  Drawing on new evidence and interviews plus their immense archive of footage, Berlinger and Sinofsky skilfully weave a riveting tale that brings new viewers up to date.  The final chapter is a triumphant yet cautionary note about the elasticity of justice.  Paradise Lost 3, which has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, will have its Australian premiere at ACMI.

"The Paradise Lost trilogy is a testament to the power of advocacy filmmaking in galvanizing action and changing lives," says ACMI Film Programmer Kristy Matheson.

After eighteen years and three films, director and producer Berlinger is happy to have contributed to the result. "To see our work culminate in the righting of this tragic miscarriage of justice is more than a filmmaker could ask for," he said.

On August 19 2011, the convicted killers dubbed the 'West Memphis Three' were released from prison.

ACMI will screen the Paradise Lost documentaries both in individual sessions and as a trilogy between Thursday 1 and Sunday 4 March, 2012.

Director and producer Joe Berlinger will be at ACMI to give an introduction to these titles and to participate in a Q&A following the Australian premiere of Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory on Saturday 3 March. For more information and tickets, please visit:

Joe Berlinger's visit is presented in association with the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) and made possible through the support of the David and Joan Williams Documentary Fellowship.

Further information

Claire Butler
Communications Coordinator
[direct phone] 61 3 8663 2415 [fax] 61 3 8663 2498 [mobile] 0434 603 654
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