EXCLUSIVE: One of the most upsetting child murder cases in recent memory is the subject of a provocative feature film. Meridian Entertainment is financing, and James Schamus’ Symbolic Exchange is producing Casting JonBenet, a film that is part documentary, part narrative feature, directed by Kitty Green (The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul).
The picture shot quietly in Colorado and production is just completed. Scott Macaulay (Raising Victor Vargas) is producing with Green and James Schamus. Casting JonBenet is a sly and stylized exploration of the world’s most sensational child-murder case, the unsolved death of 6-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey. After 20 years of media speculation and public hysteria that more or less accused her parents of killing their own child, Casting JonBenet presents audiences with a hybrid of fiction and nonfiction filmmaking that examines the macabre legacy of this tiny starlet. Inciting responses, reflections and even performance from the Ramsey’s own Colorado community, the film will examine how this heinous crime and its resulting mythologies have shaped the attitudes and behavior of successive generations of parents and children.
“Precisely two decades after the JonBenet Ramsey case first made headlines, Kitty Green and I are excited to be partnered with James Schamus, Meridian and Symbolic Exchange on a film that radically explores the imprint that crime has left on our lives,” said Macaulay.
Said Symbolic Exchange president Schamus: “Kitty Green is among the most fearless and original new voices in cinema today, and we are thrilled to be a part of her team. I’m also pleased that her film marks the first production to be financed under our agreement with Meridian, whose support for original and groundbreaking filmmakers is making this possible.” The film is being made with grants from Screen Australia, Film Victoria, the Sundance Documentary Film Program, Cinereach, Rooftop Films and Garbo NYC.
Green’s docu Ukraine Is Not a Brothel won the Australian Academy of Cinematic Arts’ award for best feature documentary, and The Face of Ukraine: Casting Oksana Baiul premiered at 2015 Sundance, where it won the non-fiction jury prize.