Our film illustrates what happens when the media machine cannot keep up with the demand for new information – Mette Heide
It has been dubbed the "Trial of the Century." The case of the American exchange student Amanda Knox and her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, who were twice convicted and twice acquitted by Italian courts of the killing of Knox' British flat mate Meredith Kercher, became a media sensation in the nearly ten years the proceedings lasted.
Why was the public so absorbed by Amanda Knox instead of staying focused on understanding the facts of the matter?
"At its heart, the basics form a terrible tragedy," says Brian McGinn, one of the two directors behind the Danish-produced documentary "Amanda Knox."
"A young woman loses her life far too early and three other young people [Knox, Sollecito and Rudy Guede, still in prison, ed.] are tried for murder. And yet, the trials had become entertainment. I thought there was a human narrative there that hadn't been explored in a documentary, and I thought it would be interesting to investigate this intersection between the international news phenomenon and the normal people whose lives had been upended."
Read the full interview with McGinn and Rod Blackhurst The Truth behind the Headlines
Mette Heide as producer
"Amanda Knox" is now premiering on Netflix as an Original Documentary, which marks the first time a Danish producer is on board a film produced specifically for the US streaming giant.
"'Amanda Knox' is about a murder case running amok," says Mette Heide of Profile Pictures. Heide was also the producer behind Brian McGinn's prize-winning film from 2012, "The Record Breaker," about the multi Guinness World Record holder Ashrita Furman.
"It's about how big a role the media can play, and how much people's interest can influence the media coverage. We live in a time when true crime is increasingly popular. Our film illustrates the consequences of our fascination and what happens when the media machine cannot keep up with the demand for new information," the Danish producer says.
"The unreality of tabloid journalism"
Prior to its Netflix release, "Amanda Knox" world premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September and garnered positive reviews for its attempt to give us the bigger picture.
In the words of Screen's critic, the film offers "a cooler understanding of who Knox was and what she has endured through two convictions and two acquittals." Read Screen review
Variety singles out the film as "a resonant documentary, with a reach far beyond this case" and calls attention to the way it "captures how the unreality of tabloid journalism has slid through digital portals into the mainstream, becoming part of the toxic air of misinformation that we all now breathe." Read Variety review
More about the film
"Amanda Knox" is produced by Mette Heide for Plus Pictures, known for such films as Leslee Udwin's Peabody-winning "India's Daughter," Lauren Greenfield's Sundance winner "The Queen of Versailles" and Brian McGinn's "The Record Breaker."
"Amanda Knox" had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival (8-18 September) in the TIFF Docs section and was released on Netflix on 30 September as a Netflix Original Documentary.