“Just Keep Asking”: True Crime Filmmakers Talk About Pushing A Classic Genre In New And More Ethical Directions At IFP Week 2019

Filmmaker Magazine | 9/17/2019 | Matt Prigge
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by Matt Prigge

True crime has been having a moment, as they say, for a while now. In a way it’s never not been having a moment, but the genre has rapidly evolved in the digital age, when more information is available to more people, when conspiracy theorists run wild on Reddit and 4chan, and when there’s simply more content being produced. All this means not only more crime content, but also shows and movies that are more thoughtful, more creative, and even more conscious of ethical or moral quandaries that may crop up in the process of covering true crimes.

Panel - Killer - Ideas - IFP - Week

The panel “Killer Ideas,” at IFP Week 2019, brought together a mix of the old guard and the new. The former was represented by Joe Berlinger, whose Paradise Lost trilogy helped free the wrongly convicted West Memphis Three. The latter was repped by, among others, Erin Lee Carr, barely in her 30s but already a prolific non-fiction chronicler with a yen for enjoyably lurid titles — Mommy Dead and Dearest; I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth Vs. Michelle Carter — that clash with the careful and forward-thinking ways they’ve been assembled.

“I think a lot about the true crime genre — how to elevate it, how to make it thoughtful,” Carr said. “I think everyone is always talking about a renaissance of crime, but crime has always been good, especially at HBO. How do we continue that thoughtfulness? How I look for stories is: Does it have layers? Is there a societal impact? How many people can I talk to? Can I talk to the victim and the perpetrator? And can I talk to them in equal measure?”

Carr - Part - Time - Sides - Crime

Carr sees the last part — giving equal time to both sides of a crime — as a new development within the genre....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Filmmaker Magazine
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