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Memphis" is a new documentary film produced by
Peter Jackson and
Fran Walsh (the Lord of the Rings trilogy),
Amy Berg (Best Documentary Oscar nominee Deliver Us From Evil), with first-time producers
Damien Echols (of the West Memphis Three) and
Lorri Davis. Directed by
Amy Berg, the film reveals the untold story behind an extraordinary and desperate fight to bring the truth to light; a fight to stop the
State of Arkansas from killing an innocent man.
Starting with a searing examination of the police investigation into the 1993 murders of three eight-year-old boys in the small town of
West Memphis, Arkansas, the film goes on to uncover new evidence surrounding the arrest and conviction of the other three victims of this shocking crime--
Jason Baldwin and
Jessie Misskelley. All three were teenagers when they became the target of the police investigation for crimes they did not commit. Each of the West Memphis Three spent more than 18 years in prison while outside the gates, mounting evidence
and testimony pointing to their innocence led to an outpouring of support, particularly from the music community and artists featured on this album such as
Eddie Vedder, Henry Rollins,
Dave Navarro, and
"Music has always played a huge role in my life. In my early years, it allowed me to escape the crushing poverty I was born into. Music took me out of myself and into a thousand other worlds. Then, when I was put on trial, it was music they used against me. My love of heavy metal was considered 'proof' that I was evil and a satanic murderer. And then, ultimately, it was music that helped to free me when friends and supporters came together to put on the Voices for Justice concert in
Little Rock," said
Memphis" premiered at the
Sundance Film Festival on
January 21, 2012 and was an official selection at the Deauville American Film Festival 2012 and the
Toronto International Film Festival 2012.
Much of the music heard in "West of
Memphis" comes from an original score written and performed for the film by the Australian compositional team of Nick Cave and
Warren Ellis (The Dirty Three, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds). "It was an honor to have made a contribution to the film and to have played a part in raising awareness of the case of the West Memphis Three," said Cave.
Strains of the Cave-Ellis film score may be heard in the Henry Rollins track, "Damien Death Row Letter (Year 9)" in which Rollins reads a letter Damien has written him in 2003. One of the WM3's most vocal proponents over the years, Rollins was the producer and prime creative force behind the 2002 compilation album Rise Above: 24 Black Flag Songs to Benefit the West Memphis Three.