Right now, movie critics, fans, and distributors are all hunkering down for a long week of trudging through the snow to see the best that indie cinema has to offer at the Sundance Film Festival.
The first film to be acquired this year was Casting JonBenét—a strange documentary hybrid that is both a product of the recent fascination with the 20 year old death of the young pageant queen JonBenét Ramsey, and also a meta-commentary about that fascination. Now, Netflix has released the first clip from the movie before its debut on Sunday at Sundance.
While making Casting JonBenét, director Kitty Green traveled to Boulder, Colorado, where Ramsay was killed on Christmas day in 1995, and asked the residents there how the crime affected them and what legacy it left behind. Some of them even explain themselves in performance, which should probably make you very nervous, since there seems to be nothing worse than interpretive dance about cold cases, but we'll see how it plays out.
This is just the latest in a swarm of Ramsey-related television programming that has hit the airwaves over the last year thanks to interest churned up by the crime's 20th anniversary. Lifetime aired Who Killed JonBenét? in November, Investigation Discovery aired JonBenét: An American Murder Mystery in September, A&E aired The Killing of JonBenét: The Truth Uncovered in September, and CBS aired The Case Of: JonBenét Ramsey that month as well. Each show fits into the exact kind of frenzy that Casting JonBenét is interested in investigating.
The most consequential of those shows was The Case Of, which hired a bunch of crime experts to try to reenact the scene of the crime and find out who was responsible for her murder. They pointed the finger at Burke Ramsey, JonBenét's older brother, and he reacted by filing a $750 million defamation lawsuit against the network in December.
One thing is for sure, the story of JonBenét Ramsey and the fallout from her murder is far from over. If you aren't at Sundance this weekend, you'll have to wait until April to see the doc for yourself when the film launches both on Netflix and in a limited theatrical release.