Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart will air later this month as part of Sky Atlantic’s documentary film strand.
When the curtain rose on the murder trial of Pamela Smart murder case 23 years ago, the stage was set for the birth of reality TV. Accused of plotting the 1990 murder of her husband Gregory, the 22-year-old Smart was subsequently convicted in the first fully televised, gavel-to-gavel court case, which has inspired over 20 years of television, books, plays, and movies, including To Die For, starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Gus Van Sant.
An official selection of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart probes whether the media’s insatiable storytelling combined with Pamela Smart’s demeanor and naivete settled the verdict long before the case was argued in court. explores the influence of the media on the murder trial and sentencing of Pamela Smart. Forbes described the documentary as “dramatically compelling, insightful and comprehensive”, while Vice called it “a fascinating and haunting meditation on America’s flawed justice system.”
Pamela Smart worked in the media centre of a New Hampshire high school, where she became romantically involved with student Billy Flynn. On May 1, 1990, Flynn and three teenage friends – Partick Randall, J.R. (Vance) Lattime and Raymond Fowler – went to the couple’s condo and murdered Smart’s husband.
After a 14 day trial, Smart was convicted and is now serving life without parole in the Bedford Correctional Facility in New York for being an accomplice to first-degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder and witness tampering. Each of the young men involved in the case received lesser sentences.
Featuring an exclusive new interview with Smart herself, as well as interviews with prosecuting and defending attorneys, journalists who covered the case, childhood friends, former inmates who served time with her, and, in the first interview since his release, one of the boys convicted with her.
Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart premieres on Sky Atlantic at 9pm on Wednesday 15th October.