The nation’s endless fascination with JonBenét Ramsey’s tragic demise will continue in 2017: Netflix has acquired Casting Jon-Benet, a documentary about the still-unsolved case to premiere later this year.
Directed by Kitty Green, the documentary will premiere at Sundance later this month but was acquired by Netflix prior to its debut. While the recent JonBenét Ramsey offerings have focused on the sordid details of her murder and have mostly been concerned with pinning the blame on her brother Burke, this documentary focuses on the lingering effects of her death and her unsolved murder on the community at large.
“Casting JonBenet” is an exploration of the still-unsolved death of six-year-old American beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey in 1996 in Colorado. Over 15 months, the filmmakers traveled to the Ramseys’ Colorado hometown to elicit responses and reflections from the local community. The film examines how this crime and its resulting mythologies have shaped the attitudes and behavior of successive generations of parents and children.
Is this an attempt to capitalize on the mini true-crime boom that kicked off with “Serial” and intensified with Netflix’s Making a Murderer? Probably not. The Ramsey case has consumed the national imagination for the twenty years it’s gone unsolved; it feels crass to say that a new take on the case is refreshing, but examining the impact of the case through this lens is a perspective that we have yet to see.
“Netflix is the ideal home for showcasing Kitty’s sharply-rendered vision of a mythic American tragedy to a global audience, on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the crime,” Netflix VP of Original Documentary Programming Lisa Nishimura said. While Burke Ramsey is probably less interested in seeing this documentary come to light, this will likely be provocative and dare I say it, well-done.
Casting JonBenét will premiere sometime in the spring of 2017.