23rd Annual Minneapolis - St. Paul International Film Festival

The Staircase (Non-fiction Features)
2004 - USA - 90 minutes

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DIRECTOR: Jean-Xavier Lestrade’s

An Academy Award™-winning documentary filmmaker presents a gripping courtroom thriller that offers a rare and revealing inside look at a high-profile murder trial. In 2001, North Carolina author Michael Peterson was arraigned for the murder of his wife, whose body was discovered lying in a pool of blood on the stairway of their upscale home. Granted unusual access to Peterson’s lawyers, home and immediate family, de Lestrade’s cameras capture the defense team as it considers its strategic options. When some startling evidence comes to light during the investigation, the filmmakers are on the scene to record the discovery. What results is documentary filmmaking at its most revealing. And as the case finally goes to trial, the film reveals the defendant’s own thoughts about the prosecution’s witnesses, the evidence and his chances of acquittal. The Staircase is an engrossing, eye-opening look at contemporary American justice that features more twists than a legal bestseller. The filmmakers turned it into an 8-part series that will run on the Sundance Channel starting April 4th. Here we show the first two installments. Jean-Xavier Lestrade’s Murder on a Sunday Morning won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2001. His other documentaries include Justice des homes (’01), D'un amour à l'autre (’99) and La Cavale des innocents (’95). –EC

PRODUCER: Allyson Luchak
EDITOR: Sophie Brunet, Scott Stevenson
MUSIC: Isabelle Razavet
PRINT SOURCE: Sundance Channel

Saturday, April 02 9:15pm McNally Smith Auditorium