With Sundance 2012 beginning to wind down, let’s briefly rewind back to the 2011 film festival where Yoav Patash’s “Crime After Crime” premiered to a great reception a year ago. The documentary went on to win a slew of awards at festivals around the country, before being picked up by Oprah’s OWN Documentary Club and receiving its television premiere last November.
The doc follows the legal appeal process of Deborah Peagler, the victim of domestic abuse who was sentenced to 25-years-to-life in 1983 for her connection to the murder of her boyfriend. Teaming up with two attorneys who believe they have incontrovertible evidence that could free her, and along the way they encounter an atmosphere of corruption and politically driven resistance against her fight for justice and freedom.
We were very impressed when the doc aired on OWN, calling it “a devastating portrait of the power of the human spirit,” and “a fitting tribute to the unlikely spokesmodel for the roughly 100,000 female victims of domestic violence who are behind bars today.” It seems we weren’t the only ones blown away by this story, because Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures is partnering with ro*co prods. to adapt it into a feature film.
There’s certainly a lot of dramatic potential in the story, and it’s not hard to imagine it being both a powerful drama and a critical success if handled correctly. But then again, it’s not hard to imagine the adaptation stripping away all that was laudable about the documentary and turning a fascinating true story into something bland and procedural like Tony Goldwyn's “Conviction.” 1492 and ro*co hope this will be the first picture in an ongoing arrangement that will see many documentaries adapted into narrative features. And they are off to a good start. [Variety]