The makers of the three-part documentary “Paradise Lost” – about the savage murder of three 8 year-old boys in West Memphis, Ark., in 1993 – are declaring victory in the wake of the release Friday of the three men convicted of the crime.
Filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky were in court Friday in Jonesboro, Ark., to witness the freeing of the three former teen-agers who became known as the West Memphis Three — Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols and Jessie Misskelly.
“Eighteen years and three films ago, we started this journey to document the terrible murders of three innocent boys and the subsequent circus that followed the arrests and convictions of Baldwin, Echols and Misskelly,” Berlinger said in a statement released by HBO, which aired the aired the first two installments of their documentary series, and will air the third next year. “To see our work culminate in the righting of this tragic miscarriage of justice is more than a filmmaker could ask for.”
In the same prepared statement, Sinofsky added: “Today, we, along with HBO, are humbled to be a part of this remarkable outcome.”
Indeed, the commitment by HBO and these filmmakers to this subject – murder convictions that Berlinger and Sinofsky long believed were wrongful – has been a lengthy one. “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills,” the series’ first installment, first aired in 1996. Part 2, “Paradise Lost 2: Revelations,” aired in 2000. And now, with the three now released following a complex plea bargain, the filmmakers are now able to finish their story with Part 3, “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.” The new – and now, concluding – chapter of the story will make the rounds of various film festivals this fall, HBO said.
It will then turn up on HBO in January.