By Jeffrey Hodgson
TORONTO (Reuters) - A new documentary about Amanda Knox, an American who was cleared of the murder of her British roommate after multiple trials in Italy, is meant to push past the sensational coverage of the case and understand the real people involved, its directors say.
The movie, titled simply "Amanda Knox," premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on Friday, ahead of its release on streaming service Netflix this month.
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In it, directors Rod Blackhurst and Brian McGinn feature extensive interviews with Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, as well as the case's Italian prosecutor and a British tabloid journalist who covered it extensively.
Italy's top court last year threw out the conviction of Knox and Sollecito for the brutal stabbing of 21-year-old Meredith Kercher in 2007, a case that provided fodder for tabloids on both sides of the Atlantic.
The filmmakers said they were able to obtain interviews because Knox and others felt their portrayal in the press had not been accurate.
"They felt like nobody had taken the time to listen to them. Everyone was approaching subjectively, and through the lens of the narrative that they wanted to believe. And we wanted to see them and know them as people," Blackhurst said in an interview at the Toronto festival.
In the film, Knox discusses why she thinks the case attracted such interest, telling the audience, “Either I’m a psychopath in sheep’s clothing, or I am you.”
Co-director McGinn said rather than guilt or innocence, he and Blackhurst wanted to focus on how the tragedy could become an international sensation that would cause "a billion people to all pick sides."
The case cast an uncomfortable spotlight on Italy's legal system. In its ruling, Italy's top court said the legal meandering that produced two convictions, two acquittals and four years each in jail for Knox and Sollecito resulted from "deplorable" carelessness.
The court also said the avid media attention paid to the killing contributed to "a spasmodic search for one or more guilty parties to offer up to international public opinion."
"We both hope than when people watch this film, they question their role in the commodification of tragedy and the serialization of these tragic events," Blackhurst said.
"We're ultimately hoping that people will sort of start this larger conversation about why they're seemingly more interested in entertainment than in knowledge."
(Editing by Steve Orlofsky)