by Ella Navarro
January and February see the climax of the movie award season. They’re great months to hide from the cold and soak up all that film talent. As usual, Denmark is making some buzz worldwide with its productions, and that is the case with ‘Amanda Knox’, a documentary that retells the story of how a US student stood trial for murder in Italy – on more than one occasion.
Denmark and Netflix team-up
A co-production by Danish Plus Pictures – known for producing the Oscar-winning ‘Taxi to the Dark Side’ in 2007 – and Netflix, ‘Amanda Knox’ has enjoyed great success since its premiere.
While studying abroad in Perugia, Italy, in 2007, Knox and her boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, were accused of murdering her British roommate Meredith Kercher, and sentenced to 26 years in prison. The case attracted huge international media coverage, leading to scandal after scandal in the news, generating different versions of who Amanda Knox was.
The documentary retells the story in a fresh and straightforward way. The viewer is enabled to understand how the case got out of hand, but the question remains: what do you believe? Is Knox guilty or not?
An idea bred in Aarhus
Stephen Robert Morse, an alumni of the Erasmus Mundus Master’s in Journalism, Media and Globalisation, a dual degree programme hosted by Aarhus University, conceived and produced the film ‘Amanda Knox’. Morse’s time in Aarhus bred the idea that later resulted in the documentary. Ever since, he has been involved in the production of the documentary, making his project come to life.
It all began back in 2011 while Morse was traveling through Europe as part of an investigation for his master’s thesis. He visited Perugia and did some research into the media reaction that Knox’s case created. He even thought of writing an article on the case, but the more he investigated the subject, the more interesting the theme became to him. Morse felt the case was worth being told in a documentary format, and so he embarked on finding partners for the project. It took about five and a half years to finally finish the film as a result of the case eventually going to trial four times.
Morse is thrilled by the recognition the documentary has received worldwide. He believes the future of journalism is in this kind of storytelling, through platforms like Netflix.
“Netflix and Amazon are the future of journalism because people have already subscribed to them – they are already paying customers who are interested in non-fiction content. In my opinion, long-form documentaries are the future of journalism as they give viewers in-depth knowledge,” he said.
Today, Morse has formed a company called the OBSERVATORY to help other filmmakers finish films that they have started to create.
Among the best
Directed by Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn, Amanda Knox premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and has been available on Netflix since September 30th. Many thought it would be on the 15-film shortlist for Best Documentary Feature at the prestigious Oscars, given the amount of buzz following its release, but unfortunately it didn’t make it. Nonetheless, ‘Amanda Knox’ has been nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the Robert Awards (the Danish equivalent of The Oscars), which are being held in Copenhagen on February 6th.
Stay tuned for the results, and in the meantime be sure to watch this thought-provoking documentary on Netflix!