Scoop: ‘Making a Murderer’ filmmakers say they expected backlash

In this March 13, 2007 file photo, Steven Avery listens to testimony in the courtroom at the Calumet County Courthouse in Chilton, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

In this March 13, 2007 file photo, Steven Avery listens to testimony in the courtroom at the Calumet County Courthouse in Chilton, Wis. (AP Photo/Morry Gash, File)

The filmmakers behind Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” documentary say they expected a backlash that would lead people in the media to demonize Steven Avery, the Wisconsin man whose prosecution in the 2005 death of a woman formed the centerpiece of the 10-part series issued last month.

Laura Ricciardi and Moira Demos, at a news conference on Sunday, sought to deflect discussion on the question of Avery’s guilt or innocence and instead pointed to questions raised about the criminal justice system in their film.

“Making a Murderer” has followed the NPR podcast “Serial” and HBO’s “The Jinx” as a compellingly told true crime epic, leading many people who have seen it to take up the cause of Avery, who served 18 years in prison following a wrongful conviction of rape and two years after his release was charged in the death of photographer Teresa Halbach. The documentary questions whether Avery was treated fairly.

Yet prosecutors — who the filmmakers say declined their request to participate in “Making a Murderer” — have claimed the film omits physical evidence against Avery. A former fiancee of Avery’s, Jodi Stachowski, told HLN this week that Avery was “a monster” who had threatened to kill her.

“The media are demonizing this man in order to prove his guilt,” Ricciardi said.

They said, however, that they expected a strong reaction. Although they said they were filmmakers, not prosecutors, they said they tried their best to reflect all of the facts in the case.

They ducked questions Sunday on their belief about Avery’s guilt or innocence, even though they told Stephen Colbert on CBS’ “Late Show” earlier this month that they believed he was not guilty. Ricciardi said she would not want to be treated by the criminal justice system the way Avery was.

‘Spotlight’ shines at Critics’ Choice Awards

The investigative journalism drama “Spotlight” won the top prize at the Critics’ Choice Awards on Sunday, while awards favorites Brie Larson and Leonardo DiCaprio won the top acting prizes for “Room” and “The Revenant.”

Both actors won Golden Globe Awards and are considered front-runners for the Academy Awards, too.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” was the most nominated film of the evening with 13 nominations from the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association. While it lost out for the top prize, it did win a number of awards, including Best Director for George Miller, best action movie, and best action movie actor and actress for Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.

Happy birthday

Singer Samantha Mumba is 33. … Rapper DJ Quik is 46. … Comedian Dave Attell (”Insomniac”) is 51. … Actress Jane Horrocks (”Absolutely Fabulous”) is 52. … Actor-director Kevin Costner is 61.

Got scoops or Bay Area celebrity gossip? Email scoop@sfexaminer.com.Academy AwardsCharlize TheronCritics' Choice AwardsGolden GlobesJodi StachowskiLaura RicciardiLeonardo DiCaprioMad Max: Fury RoadMaking a MurdererMoira DemosOscarsSerialSpotlightSteven AveryTeresa HalbachThe JinxThe RevenantTom HardyWisconsin

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