SundanceNow Doc Club
, the advertising-free boutique SVOD service dedicated to documentaries and independent film from AMC Networks, announced today a new “True Crime” collection
, including the seminal 10-part docu-series THE STAIRCASE.
Thom Powers, resident curator of SundanceNow Doc Club, noted the increasing popularity of this genre of documentary films, saying: “True crime documentaries are enjoying a moment right now, though the genre has a timeless appeal. These films captivate viewers by offering them an intimate, detailed look at real people going through extraordinary circumstances. SundanceNow Doc Club is proud to present this collection, including a presentation of THE STAIRCASE, which has long been the gold standard for true crime docu-series.”
The films featured in the collection include:
THE STAIRCASE (2004) & THE STAIRCASE II: THE LAST CHANCE (2013)
In 2001, Michael Peterson made a 911 call that would launch one of the most stunning and complex trials of our times. Devastated that his wife had fallen to her death in their North Carolina mansion, he was utterly shocked when the District Attorney arrested him for murder. According to friends and family, the marriage of Michael and Kathleen Peterson had been a loving, wonderful relationship. But as investigators found her body lying in a sea of blood, they suspected all was not right. What emerged was a series of outrageous revelations they never could have expected. From illicit sexual activities to political intrigue to possible links to another death, the Peterson case became front-page news across the nation. Directed by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade.
THE THIN BLUE LINE (1988)
THE THIN BLUE LINE is Errol Morris’s fascinating, controversial true story of the arrest and conviction of Randall Adams for the murder of a Dallas policeman in 1976. Billed as “the first movie mystery to actually solve a murder,” the film is credited with overturning the conviction of Randall Dale Adams for the murder of Dallas police officer Robert Wood, a crime for which Adams was sentenced to death. With its use of expressionistic reenactments, interview material and music by Philip Glass, it pioneered a new kind of non-fiction filmmaking. Its style has been copied in countless reality-based television programs and feature films.
BROTHER’S KEEPER (1992)
In BROTHER’S KEEPER, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky explore the world of the elderly Ward brothers — disheveled, illiterate farmers who have lived their entire lives in a dilapidated two-room shack. When William Ward dies in the bed that he shared with his brother Delbert, police officers become suspicious. Citing motives ranging from sex crime to euthanasia, they arrest Delbert for murder, penetrating the isolated, antiquated world that left “the boys” forgotten eccentrics for so many years.
INTO THE ABYSS (2011)
In his fascinating exploration of a triple homicide case in Conroe, Texas, master filmmaker Werner Herzog probes the human psyche to explore why people kill-and why a state kills. In intimate conversations with those involved, including 28-year-old death row inmate Michael Perry (scheduled to die within eight days of appearing on-screen), Herzog achieves what he describes as “a gaze into the abyss of the human soul.” Herzog’s inquiries also extend to the families of the victims and perpetrators as well as a state executioner and pastor who’ve been with death row prisoners as they’ve taken their final breaths. As he’s so often done before, Herzog’s investigation unveils layers of humanity, making an enlightening trip out of ominous territory.
MURDER ON A SUNDAY MORNING (2003)
When a 15-year-old black teenager is put on trial for the killing of an elderly white woman in Jacksonville, FL, his defense team uncovers appalling evidence of police misconduct. Shot right before THE STAIRCASE, the Academy Award-winning MURDER ON A SUNDAY MORNING is Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s scathing indictment of the American justice system – and a white-knuckle thriller at that.
AILEEN: LIFE AND DEATH OF A SERIAL KILLER (2003)
Nick Broomfield’s documentary looks at Aileen’s violent, tortured childhood in Troy, Michigan and her subsequent years on the road as a hitch-hiking prostitute which culminated in the murders. In her last interview, conducted by Broomfield at Aileen’s request, she said she believed her mind was being controlled by radio waves. On October 9th 2002 she was executed in Florida.
AILEEN: THE SELLING OF A SERIAL KILLER (1993)
A hitch-hiking prostitute, she killed seven of her clients, and ended up on death row in the State of Florida facing the electric chair. The three main characters are Aileen Wuornos, whom we see in prison, her born-again Christian mother, Arlene Pralle, who adopted Aileen in 1991, and her lawyer, Steve Glazer. Nick Broomfield’s film raises a number of questions about official corruption, not least of which is whether in fact she is a serial killer at all, or if that label is just a commercial means of selling Aileen Wuornos and her story.
GIVE UP TOMORROW (2011)
On the Philippine island of Cebu, two sisters leave work and never make it home. That same night, hundreds of miles away in Manila on a different island, Paco Larrañaga, 19, is at a party, surrounded by dozens of reliable witnesses. Paco is accused of the rapes and murders of the two sisters. Reflecting schisms of race, class, and political power at the core of the Philippines’ tumultuous democracy, clashing families and institutions face off to convict or free Paco. Directed by Michael Collins.