Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
October 30, 1961 |
Boca Raton, Florida
March 31, 1956|
|Died||February 21, 2015(aged 58)|
Joe Berlinger (born 30 October 1961) and Bruce Sinofsky (31 March 1956 – 21 February 2015) were a team of American documentary filmmakers that have won cult fame and critical acclaim. The duo are probably best known for their trilogy of Paradise Lost films, about the so-called West Memphis Three, and 2004 Metallica documentary Some Kind of Monster. Though they often worked together, Berlinger and Sinofsky have also separately directed their own projects.
The West Memphis Three
Originally intended to be a documentary about "three guilty teenagers on trial for murder", Sinofsky and Berlinger soon decided that their film Paradise Lost would take a different path. Paradise Lost chronicles the 1993 murders of three 8-year-old boys, Stephen Branch, Christopher Byers, and Michael Moore in rural Arkansas, and argues that the fear and panic of satanism, along with questionable police work, led to the arrests and convictions of three teenagers, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Miskelley for the murders, otherwise known as the West Memphis Three. Since its 1996 premier on HBO, the film has helped fuel interest and support for the convicted men. Some believe the three were convicted more for their choices in fashion and music than for actual evidence.
The first film was followed in 2000 by Paradise Lost 2: Revelations which revealed more evidence and findings that intended to further prove the innocence of Baldwin, Echols, and Misskelley. The film explores the possibility that the three children could have been murdered by the stepfather of Christopher Byers, John Mark Byers. Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) exonerates Byers, explores another suspect, stepfather Terry Hobbs, and chronicles the eventual release of the West Memphis Three from jail in August 2011.
Citing other documentary films such as Errol Morris's crime film, The Thin Blue Line (1988), Berlinger and Sinofsky's intentions were for the films to "have a more dramatic result" and lead to the men being exonerated from prison.
Work with Metallica
At the time of the trials the West Memphis Three were fans of thrash metal band Metallica. Looking for music to use in the first Paradise Lost film, Berlinger and Sinofsky approached Metallica, who at the time rarely allowed their music to be used in films. The band permitted the filmmakers to use their music for free in all three Paradise Lost films. These meetings created a friendship between the filmmakers and band and would lead to the film Some Kind of Monster which chronicles the making of Metallica's 2003 album St. Anger. Entertainment Weekly reviewer Owen Gleiberman called it "one of the most revelatory rock portraits ever made".
|1992||Terminal Bliss (Only Bruce Sinofsky)||No||No||Yes|
|1996||Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|1998||Where It's At: The Rolling Stone State of the Union (TV Movie)||Yes||Yes||No|
|2000||Paradise Lost 2: Revelations||Yes||Yes||No|
|2000||Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2 (Only Joe Berlinger)||Yes||No||No|
|2001||Good Rockin' Tonight (Only Bruce Sinofsky)||Yes||Yes||No|
|2003||Hollywood High (Only Bruce Sinofsky)||Yes||Yes||No|
|2004||Some Kind of Monster||Yes||Yes||No|
|2009||Crude (Only Joe Berlinger)||Yes||Yes||No|
|2011||Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory||Yes||Yes||No|
- Joe Berlinger from Some Kind of Monster: The Film maker's Audio Commentary (2004)
- Leveritt, Mara. Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three. 2002. Pg. 319
- Metallica May Give Music To "Paradise Lost" Sequel