Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi - The Search for Justice in "Making a Murderer"

January 18, 2016 - Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi 01/18/2016 Views: 30,592

Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi, the filmmakers behind "Making a Murderer," talk about how their show examines the justice system through Steven Avery's murder conviction. (6:50)

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Please welcome Moira Demosand Laura Ricciardi!

(cheering and applause)

Thank you so much for coming tothe show and, more importantly,

thank you so muchfor making an amazing show.

-Making a Murderer is just...Yeah, it's... (cheering)

It is phenomenal.

I-I know everyone rushesto get straight into the...

"Avery, is he guilty?Is he not?"

But let's startat the beginning.

This process took you, what,ten years?

Ten years and a few days. Yeah.

Oh, yeah, the few days.That's the...

I like how you're like,"That's the part that got me,

-the few days."-Yeah.

Where do you start with this?I mean, I-I read--

and correct me if I'm wrong--but you-you weren't

big-big-time filmmakerswhen you took on this project.

That's right. We wereactually just, um, finishing up

our graduate film workat Columbia University

-here in New York.-(cheering and applause)

New York values.

And, um, Steven Averymade the front page

of The New York Times,

and the headline read, "Freed ByDNA, Now Charged in New Crime,"

and that right there was enoughto get us interested.

And the more we talked about it,the more it just seemed

as if his story would bethis incredible window

through which to lookat our justice system.

Now, that's-that's a key pointthat you make there, um,

a unique way to lookat the justice system.

So many people seemto be focusing

on the Steven Avery side of it.

I mean, you had, what, 300,000petitions to the White House

to pardon Steven Avery?

People are like,"You got to free him!

I can't believe this happened!Stephen Avery!"

But that's not why you madethe movie.

No, not at all.I mean, we did not intend

to have an impacton that particular case.

Our objective really was,you know,

with 20/20 hindsight, we couldlook back at the first case.

We knew that the justice systemhad failed Steven Avery in 1985

and continued to fail himfor another 18 years

while he was wrongly imprisoned.

And what we really wantedto explore and understand

was the extentto which the justice system

had made meaningful progresssince 1985.

Do you feel thatit's made meaningful progress?

I mean, I think there'sno denying that the advances

it has made. You know,DNA is an incredible asset.

-Yeah. -There have beenmeaningful legislative reforms.

But I think it's pretty clearfrom what we witnessed

and what we documentin the series

that we have a long way to go

before we can havea reliable system.

How did you get himto be so funny?

'Cause, like,I've never watched a show

where I didn't knowhow I felt about the person.

I was shouting at my TV screenthe whole time.

I was like, "It's right there!

It's right there!"How did you...

how did you put allof that together?

Um, I mean, we chose Stevenas our main subject,

and we understoodwhat his goal was in 2005.

-Yeah. -I mean,we did not set out to prove

Steven Avery's innocence.He did.

And so we were documentingwhat he was doing

and what his defense was doing

in terms of responding to,you know, the efforts

the state was putting forthto try to convict him.

And now everyoneis coming up with stories.

It's-it's amazing how you'vereignited this discussion.

People are online going,"Oh, Steven Avery."

Now is it... is it Jodithat came and just said, uh,

"Oh, he hit me."And people are like,

"But you never said thatbefore." And then...

And then on-on Dr. Phil, they were interviewing

the-the prosecutor andthen the sheriff's department.

-Everything has come backto life in the story, -Mm-hmm.

and everyone's talkingabout the innocence

or the lack of innocencein this.

And yetthat's not the conversation

you were trying to start.

Do you feel like you guyshave created a monster?

I mean, sometimes it feelslike that, yeah.

But, um, uh...

You know,that's another conversation.

-Yeah. -They're not talkingabout the series.

They're not talkingabout the important issues

that, really, we needto be talking about.

And I think if you look at who'sstarting those conversations--

-you know, Ken Kratz goingon television-- -Yes, yes.

-you know, he...-I don't like him at all.

(groans loudly)

I mean, by doing that,he's guaranteeing

-that we're only talkingabout three episodes. -Yes.

You know,this is a ten-episode series,

and there's reasons, you know,they don't want

to be talking about what's goingon in the other episodes.

Yeah, because you're takingthe... you're taking the focus

away from-from the problemsin the justice system.

I mean, everythingthat was going on...

Like, I was shocked, going,"Is this how a jury works?"

People are trading livesfor "I can go home tonight."

"You give me a guilty,and I'll let you go home."

And I was like, "But the otherperson doesn't get to go home.

-What the hellis happening here?" -Mm-hmm.

And then the-the plantingof evidence, the...

Did you ever feel like you guyswould be in danger

with what you were covering?I mean,

it was pretty sketchyat some points.

We never felt, you know, um,in jeopardy in that sense.

We did, at some point, facean unexpected challenge.

We had to try to protectand preserve our own footage.

Um, I had written a letterto Ken Kratz,

who was then special prosecutor,asking him

if he would like to participatein the documentary.

And I never received a response.

However, two months later,he filed a subpoena

-and tried to subpoenaour footage. -Wow.

And, um, we had to hire a lawyer

and try to, essentially, quashthat subpoena.

And it wasn't until a monthbefore Steven's trial started

that Steven's trial judgesettled that matter

and ruled in our favor.

And I think what's reallyinteresting is what we see now,

when Ken Kratz is talkingto the national media,

he's reusing the losing argumenthe made in 2006.

-Yep. -He was accusing usof being an investigative arm

of the defense,and Steven's own trial judge

ruled against himand in our favor.

It's's a sad, fascinating story.

I-I found it powerful because...

Like, when I was on Twitterand online and everything,

I saw people getting so angry,

and I think that's whatyou were successful in doing

is getting people to realizethat there are problems

in the system,getting white people to realize.

Well, 'cause white peoplewere like,

"This-this can't be happening.

"Oh, my God.

How is an innocent manbeing oppressed by this system?"

And black people were like,"Exactly!

That's the (bleep)I been talking about!"

-(cheering and applause)-So, congratulations.

-Thank you so much.-I-I read that there's...

there may be a season two.

Is it gonna be Steven Avery

or is it gonna besomething else?

I mean, there's not many casesof oppression

in terms of, uh,the law in America.

-I don't know if you're gonnafind someone else. -I don't know

where we would find another one.

-I mean... -And it is gonna taketen years again?

-No. -I hope not.-No. I love that you were like,

"No, not at all." Whatever itis, we're gonna be watching it.

Absolutely amazing. Making a Murderer is available

on Netflix now.I suggest you watch it.

Moira Demos and Laura Ricciardi,everybody. Thank you so much.

(cheering and applause)