Interview: Joe Berlinger On Telling the Story of ‘Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich’ - Awards Circuit

Joe Berlinger has been producing and directing true crime stories for decades. He has two Emmy awards, for his series “Ten Days That Unexpectedly Changed America,” and “Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hood Hills.” The third installment in his “Paradise Lost” series, “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” also earned him an Academy Award nomination.

In 2019, Berlinger directed the Netflix series “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.” His work on the series led to the narrative feature, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” in which Zac Efron played the infamous serial killer. That film premiered at Sundance before it went to Netflix.

The director and producer knew the story of Jeffrey Epstein needed to be told. He set out several years ago, long before the arrest and subsequent suicide of the billionaire, to make a documentary. Originally planning to direct the series himself, the more his team learned about Epstein’s crimes and his victims, the story began to take shape. Ultimately, he asked Lisa Bryant, a producer on many of his projects, to direct. Berlinger served as showrunner and the two worked together to bring to light the fascinating and terrifying account.

This week, we spoke with Joe Berlinger about his work on “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,” why he was drawn to tell the story, and whether he believes there will ever be justice for their victims.

Critics Choice Real TV Awards: "Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich" wins Best Crime/Justice Series - Hollywood Reporter

The Critics Choice Real TV Awards honor excellence in nonfiction, unscripted and reality programming across broadcast, cable and streaming.

Crime/Justice Series

Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich (Netflix) (WINNER)
Atlanta's Missing and Murdered: The Lost Children (HBO)
The Innocence Files (Netflix)
The Pharmacist (Netflix)
Trial by Media (Netflix)
The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez (Netflix)

‘Filthy Rich’ Trailer: Jeffrey Epstein Accusers Warn ‘Monsters Are Still Out There’ - The Wrap

Netflix released the first trailer for the “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,” the new docuseries from director Lisa Bryant, on Wednesday.

The four-part series, which lists “Conversations With a Killer” director Joe Berlinger among its executive producers, examines Epstein’s crimes through firsthand accounts from the financial tycoon’s accusers. “The monsters are still out there,” one of the accusers warns of the network of people who enabled Epstein’s crimes. “You took our freedom, now we’re going to take yours.”

With Hollywood Productions on Hold, Documentary Filmmakers Keep Going - New York Times

Joe Berlinger, who made the acclaimed 1992 documentary “Brother’s Keeper,” has been racing to complete the first docu-series on Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire who committed suicide last year in a Manhattan jail cell after he was arrested on sex trafficking charges.

Mr. Berlinger, the producer of the Epstein series, has been working remotely with the director Lisa Bryant ever since New York officials enacted stay-at-home orders in March. His team took what they needed from the RadicalMedia office in Manhattan and got to work on color correction, graphics, sound mixing and scoring in their apartments. The series, “Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich,” will be available on Netflix this month.

“We felt it was important to be the first one out of the gate,” Mr. Berlinger said.

For other projects, Mr. Berlinger started the editing process before filming was done. That unconventional approach has allowed him to stay on schedule.

“When you start editing before you finish shooting, it’s not always ideal,” he said. “But we have several series where we shot enough material that we came up with a game plan to keep working.”

13 Uplifting Documentaries on Netflix - New York Times

Watching documentaries is an excellent way to stay informed about what’s really happening in the world: from unsolved murders to political corruption to quietly escalating global crises. But nonfiction films don’t have to be total bummers. For those Netflix subscribers who love docs — but who just can’t imagine sitting through something heavy right now — here’s a list of enlightening, entertaining and even uplifting documentaries, to brighten up your darker days.

‘Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru’

Stream it here.

This portrait of the self-help celebrity Tony Robbins documents one of his six-day, $5,000-a-head Date With Destiny seminars, which are designed to facilitate life-changing epiphanies. Joe Berlinger (“Brother’s Keeper,” the “Paradise Lost” trilogy) brings his trademark vérité style to the project. If you’re curious about these types of seminars (but not at all interested in spending the money), the film accurately depicts what they’re like. Berlinger, though, is himself a satisfied Date With Destiny alum, and parts of the movie feel somewhat rah-rah Robbins.

[Read the New York Times review.]

Joe Berlinger on Elizabeth Kendall’s reaction to his Ted Bundy film - BestInAU

...Kendall herself expressed her approval of the film in a reprinted edition of her 1981 memoir. In it, she wrote that working closely with the team behind the film was “was the most empowering way to proceed.”

She then sang praises for the film, particularly it’s lead actors. “It was well-directed and well-acted. We were left with the feeling that Zac Efron and Lily Collins got it right,” Kendall wrote.

According to Berlinger, Kendall and her daughter Molly’s reaction to the film was all the validation he needed amid criticisms.

“Molly had reached out to me to tell me. And then they let me know what their reaction was and obviously, I’m very happy that they were satisfied with the portraits, in part, because there’s been some criticism of the movie.”

Conversations with a Killer Wins Realscreen 2020 Award

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes won best non-fiction archive-based program at the 2020 Realscreen Awards! Full list of winners can be found here

Wrong Man Season 2 Release Date Confirmed (Exclusive) - Den of Geek

Joe Berlinger's documentary series Wrong Man shows what long form documentary journalism can achieve. After the first season, the Supreme Court overturned the murder conviction of Curtis Flowers, who had been tried six times by nearly all-white juries; Christopher Tapp was exonerated from rape and murder charges after serving 20 years of a 30-year sentence;  Evaristo Salas will go to into a new trial represented by a pro bono lawyer.

After a successful first season, Starz has announced that Wrong Man season 2 will premiere on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 9:45 p.m. The premiere episode will air following the series finale of Power.

Conversations with a Killer has been nominated for a 2020 Realscreen Award!

The Netflix series, directed and produced by Joe Berlinger, has been nominated in the Non-Fiction, Archive-Based Program category. To see the full list of this year's nominees, click here

DOC NYC ’19 Interview: Joe Berlinger and Robby Naish on When the Tide Turned in “The Longest Wave” - MoveableFeast

“The Longest Wave” was never intended to be a summation of Naish’s remarkable run, instead chronicling his international search for where the perfect conditions could conspire to create an uninterrupted surf that could be ridden for miles. Yet director Joe Berlinger, who has a knack for locating the pressure points in his subjects to see how they respond in films such as "Intent to Destroy" and "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster," was around for what turned out to be a perfect storm when Naish suffered a devastating pelvic fracture where the resulting titanium plate that fortified his frame was far less painful than the inability to get back on the water, leaving him to deal with a host of problems on land, whether it’s getting a divorce from his second wife or having issues arise with his windsurfing team that continues competing without him.

“It’s actually a kick in the butt to get a little better than I was,” Naish says of the injury and the resulting fallout in “The Longest Wave,” and while there surely were easier ways to avoid the by-the-numbers biopic that he desperately wanted to avoid, Naish eludes it as readily as any threat of a wipeout he’s encountered before as Berlinger is there to capture his resilience and resolve in working through adversity unlike he’s ever faced that tell a life story through the way he lives.