Monday 11 December 2017

There are more questions than answers after the new JonBenet Ramsey documentary

By Laura Harding

The film shows actors auditioning for parts in a re-enactment.

The film maker behind a new documentary about the unsolved murder of six-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey has said the project left her with more questions than answers.

The little girl was found dead in her family’s basement in Boulder, Colorado in 1996, but the killer has never been found.

The case has been the subject of numerous documentaries and examined by experts, the tabloids and internet detectives for the past two decades – and now a new Netflix film hopes to shine a light on why the case has held such a fascination.

Instead of reviving old footage and interviewing the friends and family of the victim and her parents and the police who investigated the crime, director Kitty Green explores the impact of the case through local actors, who audition to be featured in re-enactments.

Numerous actresses hoping to be cast as JonBenet’s mother Patsy, who died in 2006, discuss their theories about her involvement in the crime, while actors discuss why they are the perfect choice to play lead detective Mark Beckner.

Kitty, who is Australian, said she was still a child when she first saw reports about the murder on the news.

She told the Press Association: “I was 11 or 12 when I saw it on TV, I had an idealised view of American family and this crime punctured that, I was immediately fascinated.”

Kitty added she was never planning to make a conventional documentary about the murder, saying: “I was looking for a way to explore multiple points of view and not land on a particular theory. I wanted to see how a community reacts when it has no closure.

“It was an open casting call and we explained we would use the casting film in the films. I was up front about what I wanted and how I saw the film coming together.”

While the documentary follows in the footsteps of true crime phenomenons such as Serial and The Jinx, Kitty said she sees the film more as an exploration of why we are interested in the genre, rather than an addition to it.

She said: “I love true crime and get addicted, we all do and I was interested in why.

“What is it about that genre? I was interested in how people use true crime to make sense of their own life. The film is not a critique of the true crime genre, it’s not an intellectual exercise, it’s an emotional exercise.

“This community has lived in the shadow of this for 20 years, they can’t escape it, it’s a different experience when you’re dealing with it every day. So how do you find your way through?

“It’s not ghoulish to be intrigued, to look within yourself, to understand.

“Everyone loves a mystery and this one is unsolved and it’s the weirdest case, it’s weirder than Twin Peaks. ”

Kitty interviewed 200 people in the 15 months she spent making the film, but said she left without answers.

She said: “I went in open minded, spoke to 200 people but I’m no closer to the truth. I can’t see us getting a conviction, it will remain unsolved. It left me with more questions than answers.”

Casting JonBenet is streaming on Netflix now.

Press Association

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