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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