SXSW 2012: ‘Jeff’ explores Dahmer’s effect on Milwaukee
Premiering Saturday as part of the documentary competition at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, Texas, the film “Jeff” paints a quietly unnerving portrait of serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer and his effect on the people of Milwaukee. Interviews with Dahmer’s former neighbor, the police detective who took his confession and the city medical examiner are intercut with fictional scenes of Dahmer at his most normal and mundane, out in the world like anyone else. Sometimes evil too must ride the bus. The meditative hybrid film is the feature debut for 29-year-old director Chris James Thompson, who works in the Milwaukee office of Chris Smith, maker of the seminal documentary “American Movie.” It was Thompson’s friend Frankie Latina, director of the nouveau-exploitation film “Modus Operandi,” who initially kept encouraging Thompson to make a film about one of their city’s most notorious residents, a man found guilty of the murder of 17 people.
“Anyone watching the film knows the horrible things he did and would never excuse any of that or make apologies on his behalf. We didn’t sit down and say, ‘Let’s make a sympathetic plea for Jeffrey Dahmer.’ It was more, ‘Let’s make a movie that shows what everyone around him had to deal with. ” – Chris James Thompson
For more information about this film including a project synopsis from actor and director Chris James Thompson feel free to check out the film’s official Kickstarter listing at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chrisjamesthompson/jeff-a-film-about-the-people-around-jeffrey-dahmer