Kim Wall was a journalist before his murder. A new documentary explores his life

It could have been Erin Lee Carr with Peter Madsen in the sub, who was convicted of murdering Kim Wall in 2017. It could have been any female reporter working in that sub, but it was possible in a certain sense. Carr is the one who directed the documentary. Underlying: the disappearance of Kim WallMarch 8 on HBO Max, actually reached out to Madsen’s company in 2013 for an interview.

At the time, Carr was working on a show for Vice about space, and Madsen hadn’t yet moved away from his colleagues at Copenhagen Suborbitals, the private rocket company he co-founded in Denmark. “Her business partner, Christian, replied to my email and was like ‘Yeah, sure. Come on,’ Carr said. The vice wasn’t over, so she left. However, her co-workers went to overseas to film Madsen and his partner. “I was kind of almost there, interviewing him many years earlier,” she said. “So never talking about me — the story is really about from Kim – I obviously had feelings about potentially being someone to interview him as he led to having these psychopathic thoughts.”

Wall, 30, was last seen in Copenhagen harbor on August 10, 2017. He was on board a submarine with Madsen. Madsen is known for his eccentric Danish inventions. She had been trying to coordinate an interview with Madsen for a while, so when he contacted her the night of his own going away party before she and her boyfriend moved to Beijing, she skipped the festivities to meet. him. The next morning, Madsen returned to port – alone. He changed his story several times in the days and weeks that followed, trying to explain Wall’s disappearance. When he first came ashore, he said he had dropped her off earlier. Then, after her torso washed up nearby, he claimed she died after a hatch fell on her head and he gave her a burial at sea. found no injury to his skull, Madsen claimed it was an accidental death from carbon monoxide poisoning. Madsen was convicted of the torture, murder and dismemberment of Madsen a year later and sentenced to life imprisonment

In her new two-part documentary, Carr (Mother dead and dear; Britney V Spears) tells the story of the crime and trial that captivated international audiences, while continually focusing on the significance of Wall’s life and career and what was lost in cutting them short. She interviews the police who investigated the crime, the Navy members who helped search Madsen’s submarine and recover Wall’s remains, and the reporters who covered the trial. Although Wall’s family declined to participate in the documentary, several of his friends share anecdotes that reveal his enthusiasm for exploration and his tenacity as a journalist.

Carr also interviews Madsen’s friends. Many say they didn’t see it coming. A biographer says he regrets ever glorifying Madsen in what is described as an “incredible” documentary. “heroic” biography. Madsen hardly had any women in his life, it seems, but an unnamed woman who met him at a party said he invited her to ride his submarine and that she had refused, feeling uncomfortable with the way he was trying to get her to go alone with him. Madsen is also shown to be a narcissist and psychopath who was a nightmare to work with, hated women from an early age, and was increasingly fascinated with sexual violence before Wall’s death. All the signs were there.

Wall had taken hostile environment training and traveled to North KoreaTraveling the old fashioned way could expose you to radiation. Nuclear test sitesIn the Marshall Islands. She was murdered in an act of violence that seemed bizarre and random, just like many other acts against women. As Wall’s friend Sriya Coomer says in the documentary, “He killed her because he could.”

Madsen’s prison interview, which could have been the focus of another documentary, serves instead to make him look exactly like the woman who met him at his party. He is serious to the point of being “pathetic”. “I watch all the shows that air about the killer and his thoughts,” Carr said. “And it’s not without making me think, but also, I can’t make a film about Kim Wall if I make this film.”

Carr spoke to rolling stoneKim talks about how personal the project felt. Kim was central to the storytelling process and why she sometimes avoids making male-focused movies.

Erin Lee Carr

Divya Akhouri*

Do you remember when you learned of the disappearance and death of Kim Wall in August 2017?

I got texts from around the world from journalists saying I was like that. “Oh my God, did you see that?” I also saw that there was this memory of Kim Wall [website]They were raising money to support the Kim Wall Fund. He was basically recounting what had happened to him and I found that terrifying. You know what? I constantly read about it. He was someone who went out to do his job with someone who had been interviewed many times by journalists. Everything was so strange. It was the film I had always wanted to make.

How has Kim Wall’s story influenced your perception of your own experiences as a filmmaker and journalist?

Everyone has a story. My first movie was Thought crimesThe story is about a man who plans to do bad things. The relationship became very difficult and I was finally able to call my father. [the late New York Times journalist David Carr] at the time and said he was making some really weird comments. He tries to sexualize the relationship. What should I do? You know what? He was completely honest. He was like, I don’t know what this is. He then put me in touch with a journalist from The TimesWho could I ask to guide me through this?

Documentary filmmakers have the advantage of having others around them. Kim was a journalist and writer, so Kim sometimes had people around her. But reporting is a very unique experience. And after having problems with my subject, I no longer made a film about a man. I just been on this huge shift in trajectory where I kept doing, Mama is dead and very dear, I love you, now die, In the heart of gold — those projects that really don’t concern men. I don’t like to admit it, but I think this discomfort — I don’t want to deal with it. It definitely changed the trajectory of my life. And it’s always been important to me to have conversations about women. In the end, it was incredibly positive for me, but I can’t deny that it was part of my experience.

What were your steps to ensure that Kim Wall was at the heart of your storytelling?

Kim was our first topic of conversation at the office. Peter Madsen was called by his initials PM Kim has lived an amazing life. She was an incredible writer. One of my obsessions was his writing. [as a freelancer] is Kim’s kind of savvy to get work done and get things assigned and write things down. It is my belief that freelancing is the future. [her article about Madsen]This led her to decide to join the boat. To get paid, you have to write the story. And so I always tried to bring Kim to the center of what we’re talking about and to make sure that it wasn’t just a piece of what Peter Madsen had done. Dani Sloane, my supervising producer, is an incredible team. We always said, “OK, Kim, how do you count in this?” How can we get there? This is something we considered and put effort into in the editing process.

You used written messages between subjects very effectively in this film, as you have done in previous documentaries. Wall shares a story with a friend. “I only have questions about the agency as a woman, and if we will ever be free, whatever we do. Leaning towards no.” What was the role of such messages? How did you choose to integrate into your life?

The first time I heard the text she sent me about her questioning her agency in this world was exactly like me. She said, “I’m leaning no.” I mean, that’s kind of one of the most profound things I’ve heard in my life. It was also registered in G-chat. I think text messages are really those moments that really represent what’s going on in a person’s head, and I’ve always felt that, so I always try to imbue a film with current events, current thoughts. This was especially important for Kim. And yes, I think I will think about what she asked for the rest of my life.

Madsen’s prison interview doesn’t make a big splash, unlike how many crime documentaries treat prison visits. How was this decision made?

We have tried many different ways to do this. As a creative team, we decided to remove a lot of it. I had a long conversation with him. It was extremely, very scary. [and lasted]It lasted about 70 minutes. There was a version of the movie where it’s all about that, and it’s all about his anger at me, his anger at women. But I think it’s potentially a film that I would have made five years ago. And speaking today, what we try to say with crime documentaries, and if we push that material and try to use it to understand the person but don’t glorify it, don’t give it places where consider his argument? The real crime person in me was like, it’s huge that me, as a journalist, I have to hold him accountable. Peter Madsen, however, will never be held accountable for his actions. So it’s like, what do I really want to do with this? This serves to reveal just how crazy Peter Madsen really is, but doesn’t give the film back to him.

About Cody E. Vaughn

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