Experimental New Murder Documentary

In this week’s edition of The Business with hostess Kim Masters, Masters interviews Australian director Kitty Green and discusses her most recent documentary Casting JonBenet. The documentary shows people auditioning for roles in a movie about a 1996 murder case that is still unsolved. The film focuses on the actors’ reactions to the real life case.

Green reveals that she never intended to make a reenactment of the 1996 case of JonBenet Ramsey, but the film sort of shifted that way. She was inspired by people’s reactions to the murder, so she decided to focus on that. Many of the actors could relate on a personal level to the case. Because she held the auditions in Boulder, Colorado, the scene of the crime, many actors there remembered the case clearly and had personal experiences with the Ramsey family. Other actors could relate to different murder experiences in their lives. The actors reveal very personal experiences in the film. Green made sure to alert the auditioning actors that their stories would be used in the film.

Green did research on the JonBenet Ramsey case, but it wasn’t really important to the film she was making because it focused on others’ perspectives. The information about the case is intriguing, but for this film, Green did not need to extensively research the case in order to pull off the effect she envisioned.

This is an incredibly unique concept for a documentary, and it looks like it will be worth watching. As Green states, “JonBenet Ramsey is a framework for a broader experiement.” A very self-aware documentary, Casting JonBenet challenges the conventions of traditional storytelling.

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Amazon Helps Indie Films

Many see the new streaming giants, like Netflix and Amazon, as companies that suffocate the creativity and purity of cinema because they crank out films at such high velocity. Also, many believe that films should not be viewed in home, as cinema was intended to be viewed at theaters, on large screens in a public area, away from home life interruptions. However, Christ O’Falt at Indiewire explains how Amazon is attempting to reignite the true creative passion for indie cinema.

Amazon recently announced that it will finance the films of three major indie production companies: Bona Fide Productions, Le Grisbi Productions, and Killer Films. Ted Hope, the head of motion picture production at Amazon Studios, wants to bring back the creative integrity of the 90’s indie film movement and support directors with true artistic vision. Hope has had a long career in the indie film sector, and he wishes for Amazon to help fund quality films.

In his article, O’Falt claims that “Hope has made Amazon the anti-Netflix” because he pushes for the movies he finances to premiere in theaters and other locations before coming to the Amazon Prime streaming service. Many film scholars appreciate this idea because it is an appropriate compromise between people who believe cinema should be attached only to large public area and those who wish to view the film in their house on a streaming service. The films hit theaters first, and then the home.

Amazon may be defying expectations of the streaming service giant. Hope has voiced his appreciation for indie film and is taking steps to make it relevant and pure again.