North Central College presents “The West Memphis Three,” a screening of the Academy Award-nominated documentary “Paradise Lost 3” and speaker series. The film will be shown at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, in the College’s Madden Theatre. The following day, guest speakers will discuss the film at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, in Heininger Auditorium.
“Paradise Lost 3” is the third entry in an award-winning series that chronicles the arrest, imprisonment and release of the West Memphis Three, a group of teenagers who were wrongly accused of the most notorious child murder cases in U.S. history in 1994. The film aired on HBO in 2012 and was nominated for Best Picture at the 2012 Academy Awards. It was directed by critically acclaimed documentary filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.
The speakers on Tuesday are Holly Ballard and Jason Baldwin (photo, center), one of the men known as the West Memphis Three. After spending 18 years in prison for a crime he did not commit, new forensic evidence emerged that freed Baldwin. Since his release, he has earned an associate of arts degree and plans to pursue law school and promote positive change in the justice system. In 2012, Baldwin cofounded Proclaim Justice, a nonprofit organization dedicated to winning freedom for inmates who are factually innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted. Baldwin uses his personal experience to discuss the abolition of both the death penalty and juvenile life sentence without parole.
Ballard is a nonprofit professional who works on a variety of justice causes. She was actively involved in the West Memphis Three case and regularly visited Baldwin during his imprisonment. Ballard is the executive producer of “Devil’s Knot,” a film that chronicles the trial of the West Memphis Three. It premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival in September. Ballard works in Seattle as the outreach coordinator for the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty and serves on the board of directors for Proclaim Justice.
“The West Memphis Three” documentary and speaker series is presented by the Office of Student Involvement and CUAB (College Union Activities Board).