EXCLUSIVE: David O Russell, Killer Films’ Christine Vachon & Pamela Koffler, and Rachael Horovitz will produce a narrative feature adaptation of The Witness, the James Solomon-directed documentary that is one of the 15 feature docus shortlisted for the Oscars. Solomon will write the screenplay.

The Witness takes a close look at the 1964 murder of Kitty Genovese, an attack that shocked the city after The New York Times reported that 38 witnesses saw her being murdered or heard her screams for help. Not only didn’t they help, they didn’t even pick up the phone to call the police. The docu, which took 11 years to make, chronicles the efforts of her brother, Bill, to search for the truth. He unraveled and debunked myths that defined his life and brought shame to a neighborhood and a city. In the process, it allowed a brother to reclaim his sister’s forgotten life from an infamous death.

kitty-genovese
Film Rise

Solomon, who made his directing debut on the docu, has scripting credits that include the Robert Redford-directed The Conspirator, and he was lead writer and executive producer of the ESPN eight-hour miniseries The Bronx Is Burning, which starred John Turturro and Oliver Platt. Solomon began scripting such series as Sidney Lumet’s 100 Centre Street and The Practice. Russell just got a commitment from the Weinstein Company and Amazon for an untitled series he wrote and will direct with Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore starring; Killer Films, is in post on the Todd Haynes-directed Wonderstruck; Horovitz produced Moneyball and the Emmy-winning Grey Gardens.