Todd Moore, father of a murdered boy depicted in an Oscar-nominated documentary asks for the film to be removed from the awards. Mark Greene responds.
In the twenty-year saga of the West Memphis Three, three teenagers convicting in 1993 of the brutal murders of three Arkansas cub scouts, the latest chapter includes an Oscar nomination for 3rd installment of the HBO documentary series Paradise Lost, a series responsible for their exoneration and release from prison.
As the documentary comes up for an Oscar, the Associated Press is reporting that Todd Moore, father of one of the murdered boys is asking the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to remove the documentary from consideration as he feels it glorifies the three men convicted in the death of his son.
At which point I sit back from my computer screen and take a breath of air.
This is a story full of injustice, loss, grief and suffering. I can’t imagine the pain Todd Moore is still feeling to this day at the loss of his child. The question of how or when he will get justice for his son is not far from my mind. Then there are the long dark nights that Damian Echols has spent on death row. I’m not sure I can actually continue to think about it at all. I have to set it aside.Try and take a walk. Go somewhere and watch regular people having a normal day. My all too human response is, to put it out of my mind. To turn away.
But what also strikes me, aside from my urge to shut this story out, is how amazed I am by the tenacity of the people who made HBO Films’ Paradise Lost series. They did not turn away. For 18 years they did not turn away. I’m stunned and grateful that there are people in the world who stared into the abyss, in this case, the Arkansas Justice System, and did not blink. They took on the story and they stayed with it for years. Years.
So, during the Awards Show, as the glamor and glitz unfold, I’ll be thinking of those who lost their children. And of those who spent years in prison convicted of crimes they did not commit. And finally, I’ll be thinking of the one’s who don’t turn away. People like JOE BERLINGER, BRUCE SINOFSKY, ALYSE SPIEGEL, BOB RICHMAN and the rest of the team who made Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory. Because in a world of monolithic monsters, of prisons and police departments, of governments and wars, it’s left to the ones who don’t turn away to show us all what is happening. And maybe give us the courage to keep looking as well.