October 21, 2016
        Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race                "The Jungle Book," "Zootopia" and Craft Artists to be Honored at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards        

“West Memphis 3” story may bring released defendants to New York Film Festival

HollywoodNews.com: The big news yesterday out of Little Rock, Arkansas was that the so called West Memphis 3 were finally released from jail. Award winning documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky have been on the case since 1996 when his first film about this wrongly accused trio, called “Paradise Lost,” was shown on HBO and won a lot of awards. Berlinger followed it up with a sequel in 2000, and is now readying the third and final part of the saga for the Toronto Film Festival, Oscar consideration, and many HBO showings.

Berlinger tells me a couple of things: one–that the new “Paradise Lost” will premiere in Toronto without the three exonerated* defendants because of passports issues. But he expects that when the film comes to the New York Film Festival later in September, Damien Echols, Jessie Lloyd Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin will be on hand. New York should roll out the red carpet for these guys.

Why an *? Because instead of just granting them amnesty or admitting that the state was wrong, Arkansas forced these men to plead guilty while asserting their innocence under an arcane law. Since Echols was on death row, Baldin and Misskelly reluctantly went along with the deal to keep their buddy from the electric chair. In other words, they were strong armed. Word to the wise: stay out of Arkansas if at all possible.
Berlinger didn’t think anything was happening this summer with the West Memphis 3 because a court hearing was scheduled for December. At that time it was expected that a new trial would be ordered to over turn the 1996 decisions. It’s all based on DNA testing that has proved none of the defendants were involved in the brutal slayings of three 8 year olds in 1993.

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About Roger Friedman

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411.com column in April after 10 years with Fox News where he helped create Foxnews.com. Friedman’s prior experience on the Internet is with MSN’s Cinemania column. Friedman also wrote the Intelligencer column as a contributing editor at "New York Magazine," where he covered the O.J. Simpson criminal trial. In addition, Friedman has been involved in book publishing and filmmaking (Only the Strong Survive). For more about Roger go to Showbiz411.com

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