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SXSW Files: An insight into Reel Crime

By Nidia Yanez
On March 27, 2011

Throughout the years there have been notorious crime scene,s and some of those have made their way into films. At SXSW, there was one panel, Reel Murder: from Crime Scene to Big Screen, which some people would have died to be a member of.

To commence the panel, various clips and scenes from different true crime movies were screened to better comprehend the upcoming discussion.

The panelists included Corey Mitchell, a Los Angeles bestselling author of true crime books, Philip Anselmo, former lead singer of Pantera, Hart Fisher, creator of the infamous Jeffrey Dahmer comic book, Ami Canaan Mann, director of a true crime film The Fields, and Steve Mims, an award-winning filmmaker and professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

This panel closely analyzed the story behind true-crimes, which has gained more recognition and popularity in the film industry, especially in Hollywood. The controversy on how making these films and the importance of the way in which the story is portrayed were also discussed.

Leaving assumptions behind, among the main points these panelists expressed how making true crime films were not as easy as one presumed. There was extensive research to be conducted, which meant going to as many crime scenes as possible since it is all about authenticity.

One of the panelists, Hart Fisher, expressed his experience with having drawn a comic book based on Jeffrey Dahmer, an infamous American serial killer. Hart was just out of college and found himself having to pay legal fees. People despised him for what he drew, to the extent in which his mother could not say who her son was. Fisher also took the opportunity to mention how he lost his girlfriend to a serial killer.

However, something very impacting discussed in the panel was the role of the media in all these crime scenes and true-crime films. Fisher took the moment to express from his experience how the media takes stuff to suit their own needs and it is all manipulated.  As a result, although true-crime films do expose the truth, they have been known to stir controversy.  

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