As reported by Variety, documentary filmmaker Bruce Sinofsky—best known for co-directing the Paradise Lost trilogy—has died from complications related to diabetes. He was 58.
Sinofsky’s longtime collaborator, Joe Berlinger, tweeted the news this morning, referring to Sinofsky as his “best friend,” adding, “Great man, sad day.” Berlinger and Sinofsky were behind the Paradise Lost films, which brought a substantial amount of attention to the West Memphis Three case and its group of teenagers who were convicted of murdering three young boys. The Paradise Lost movies helped put a spotlight on the unfair circumstances surrounding the trial and the lack of actual evidence involved, which eventually drove the Arkansas Supreme Court to release the three men from prison. Sinfosky won an Emmy for the first Paradise Lost film in 1996—which premiered on HBO—and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory earned him an Oscar nomination.
The first film Sinfosky directed—along with Berlinger—was the 1992 documentary Brother’s Keeper, which was another “miscarriage of justice” story about a rural man who was accused of murdering his brother. Like with the West Memphis Three case, this one also involved a significant lack of evidence, and the documentary actively tried to separate the murder from the sensationalist take that the media had initially presented. Brother’s Keeper won a Directors Guild award for Outstanding Directorial Achievement In Documentary.
While filming Paradise Lost, Berlinger and Sinofsky were able to convince Metallica to let them use their music in the film (a first for the band), and the pair later got back together with Metallica to film a documentary that was, ostensibly, about the recording of its 2003 album St. Anger. What they ended up with was Some Kind Of Monster, an intense examination of the various issues that the members of Metallica have with each other (and themselves). Sinofsky also directed the similarly musical Good Rockin’ Tonight: The Legacy Of Sun Records for PBS.
Speaking with Variety, Berlinger said, “Bruce’s humanity is on every frame of the films that he leaves behind, and words can’t express how graced I feel my life has been by having the extraordinary opportunity of being able to say we were partners and, more importantly, best friends.”