Banff World Media Festival: ‘Making a Murderer’ Principals May Stick With Avery Story

Anything is on the table for next project; high marks to Netflix for audience intel
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Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi, the filmmakers behind Netflix’s documentary hit Making a Murderer, are considering a follow-up to the film they made about Steven Avery’s conviction in a murder case. “We’re keeping open the possibility of following the story if we think it’s warranted,” said Ricciardi, addressing the crowd at Banff World Media Festival in western Canada.

The pair is fielding a number of pitches on the scripted side, said Ricciardi, including both feature films and series, though none have moved beyond the consideration stage. Suspense films would be a fit, Ricciardi told B&C, and even comedies are on the table after the decade-long slog of fact-gathering for Making a Murderer.

“There are potentially so many amazing stories out there, and so many amazing people to work with,” said Ricciardi.

Making a Murderer debuted in December 2015 and chronicled the story of Avery, who served 18 years in prison for sexual assault and attempted murder before he was exonerated through his DNA. Two years later, Avery was arrested in connection with the murder of a local Wisconsin photographer, and convicted in 2007 despite apparent lapses in his due process. He remains in prison.

Michael Schneider, executive editor at Indiewire, moderated the session.

Ricciardi and Demos gave Netflix high marks for its partnership on Murderer. While the streaming service is often lauded for not giving producers extensive notes—or even minor notes—in the creative process, Demos said Netflix provided “great” feedback as the series came together.

“They have so much knowledge about the way audiences behave,” she said.

For instance, she and Ricciardi wanted to do a double episode premiere to fully lodge Avery’s story in viewers’ minds and ensure they return for more. Netflix insisted that people won’t watch a two-hour movie, but would go for a single episode—then end up watching three in one sitting.

The pair said Murderer was almost killed before launch, as Kenneth Kratz, the prosecutor in Avery’s case, attempted to subpoena their footage, claiming the project was an investigative arm of the defense. The judge considering Kratz’s claim sided with the filmmakers, and Making a Murderer kept rolling.

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