IDFA Competition for Feature-Length Documentary
France, 2012 HDcam, color, 130 min Director: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade Photography: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade Editing: Jean-Xavier de Lestrade Production: Matthieu Belghiti & Jean-Xavier de
Lestrade & Allyson Luchak for What’s Up Films World Sales: CAT&Docs Screening Copy: CAT&Docs
The Staircase 2. The Last Chance Jean-Xavier de Lestrade
This is the sequel to the documentary thriller The Staircase, an eight-part miniseries from 2004 that meticulously reported events inside and outside the courtroom following the mysterious death of Kathleen Peterson. Were her injuries caused by falling down the stairs, as her husband Michael claimed, or was there foul play involved? The six-hour miniseries ended with the sentencing of Michael Peterson to life imprisonment for premeditated murder. In this sequel, the makers pick up the thread when Peterson files his appeal, after doubts have been raised about the reliability of expert witness testimony. Eight years after his conviction, there is a glimmer of hope that Michael Peterson will be released. But while his sons and adopted daughters remain as loyal to him as ever, his stepdaughter Caitlin has lost faith in his innocence. In addition to showing the ups and downs within the family, the film provides insight into the U.S. justice system, where often self-proclaimed “experts” play a crucial role in the interpretation of evidence. The Staircase 2 adds a new and revealing chapter to this thrilling epic.
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade: A White and Pure Australia (1998) Of Justice and Men (2000) Murder on a Sunday Morning (2002) The Staircase (2004) Welcome Home (fiction, 2006) The Murderous Path of an Ordinary Mother (fiction, 2009)
All films and projects of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam 2012