2015 Sundance Docs in Focus: THE JINX: THE LIFE AND DEATHS OF ROBERT DURST

the jinxNew to Sundance this year is the Special Events section, which includes two nonfiction projects. First up: A preview of the first episode of Andrew Jarecki’s new six-part HBO documentary series, THE JINX: THE LIFE AND DEATHS OF ROBERT DURST, about the reclusive real estate heir.

Sundance Program Description:

Robert Durst, scion of one of New York’s billionaire real estate families, has been accused of three murders but never convicted. Brilliant, reclusive, and the subject of relentless media scrutiny, he’s never spoken publicly – until now. During interviews with Andrew Jarecki, he reveals secrets of the case that baffled authorities for 30 years.

In 2010, Jarecki made the narrative film ALL GOOD THINGS based on the infamous story of Robert Durst. After Durst saw the film, he contacted Jarecki wanting to tell his story. What began as a feature documentary ultimately became a six-part series as more and more of his incredible story was revealed.

The Sundance Film Festival is thrilled to present the first chapter of what is sure to be one of the most talked-about television events of 2015 (premiering on HBO in February) followed by a conversation with Jarecki, who will talk about his unique ability to unbind truth. From CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS through CATFISH, and now THE JINX, Jarecki has shown an amazing knack for discovering crucial stories that might have otherwise never been revealed. He will also discuss emerging opportunities for the long form documentary series.

Some Background:
Director/producer/screenwriter Andrew Jarecki’s work has been featured at Sundance several times, including as the director/producer of CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS (2003, Documentary Grand Jury Prize) and JUST A CLOWN (2004), and as the producer of CATFISH (2010) and SWIMMING (1989). He works once again with producer Marc Smerling, who also serves as screenwriter and cinematographer for the series, and with co-producer/editor/screenwriter Zac Stuart-Pontier, who in addition to co-producing and editing CATFISH, also cut Sundance alums MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (2011) and the short THE APOCALYPSE (2013). Executive producers for the series are Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum, who produced last year’s US Dramatic Grand Jury prize and audience award winner WHIPLASH, and also executive produced this year’s US Documentary Competition title HOW TO DANCE IN OHIO; and, for HBO Documentary Films, Sheila Nevins, whose Sundance credits include fellow 2015 titles GOING CLEAR: SCIENTOLOGY AND THE PRISON OF BELIEF, LARRY KRAMER IN LOVE & ANGER, and KURT COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK, as well as last year’s US Documentary Directing Award winner THE CASE AGAINST 8, CAPTIVATED, and PRIVATE VIOLENCE; and Lisa Heller, whose past Sundance production credits include CAPTIVATED (2014), the short FALL TO GRACE (2013), ABOUT FACE (2012), WIDE AWAKE (2006), UNCHAINED MEMORIES: READINGS FROM THE SLAVE NARRATIVES (2003), and BLUE VINYL (2002). Joining Stuart-Pontier as editors are Richard Hankin, whose Sundance credits include GOD LOVES UGANDA (2013), CLOWN, and FRIEDMANS; Shelby Siegel (ALL GOOD THINGS, HELVETICA); Caitlyn Green; and Nancy Kennedy, who also cut WHY WE FIGHT (2005) and co-produced and edited FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO (2007).

Why You Should Watch:
Sundance audiences will have a nearly two-week advance look at the series, which will debut on HBO on February 8 and run for six consecutive weeks. Marking the first time Durst has opened up about his past, viewers are sure to be captivated.

More Info:
For more information, visit HBO’s website and the series’ Facebook page. Check out the series’ trailer. For screening dates and times at Sundance, click the link in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance filmmaker class of 2015 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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