00:00:00 | 3:02:50




Director Kitty Green's unusual documentary, Casting JonBenet, shows a series of people from Boulder, Colorado, auditioning for a movie about the infamous and still unsolved 1996 murder. Green never really intended to film a reenactment of the crime; rather she wanted to explore the country's continued fascination with it as well as the personal stories the actors might reveal as they tried out for various roles. The making the movie was emotionally intense, but not as harrowing as her experience with her first documentary, Ukraine Is Not a Brothel. For that film, Green embedded with an radical feminist group and, as a result, she says, she was abducted by the KGB. She tells us about both projects, as well as her earlier short film, Casting Oksana Baiul.

Photo: Danika Toolson, Emma Winslow, Elle Walker, Aeona Cruz, Hannah Cagwin, Liv Bagley, Shylee Sagle and Nicole Hamilton (Michael Latham/Netflix)

Hollywood news banter 7 MIN, 6 SEC

Matt Belloni, editorial director of the Hollywood Reporter, joins Kim Masters to discuss top entertainment news stories of the week.

  • The threat of a writers' strike looms ever closer. Of the members of the WGA who voted on strike authorization, a whopping 96.3% voted yes. Their current contract expires May 1, and if they cannot reach an agreement with Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, the writers could strike as soon as May 2.
  • The trend of cord-cutting is not a good one for ESPN. The cable giant laid off around 100 people recently, including on-air talent.
  • What is going on at Fox News? More allegations of harassment continue to emerge, Jesse Watters is suddenly "going on vacation" after making an off-color comment about Ivanka Trump, and the Murdoch sons refuse to offer official support of co-president Bill Shine.
Kitty Green on 'Casting JonBenet' 19 MIN, 58 SEC

The new documentary Casting JonBenet premiered at Sundance earlier this year and is now making its debut on Netflix.

The film is not a true-crime investigation. It doesn't dig into the facts or try to unearth new evidence in the 1996 still-unsolved murder of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey.

Instead, the film uses footage of actors auditioning to perform in a film about the crime. In the process, they reveal their own wide-ranging reactions to the case -- which continues to be a source of fascination and speculation more than 20 years after Ramsey's death.

The director of Casting JonBenet is 32-year-old Australian filmmaker Kitty Green. And this is not her first time working in an unconventional fashion. For her 2013 documentary, Ukraine Is Not a Brothel, Green embedded with a radical feminist group in Kiev during the country's revolution, and ended up, she says, getting abducted by the KGB. The charge against her? Filming a protest.

Making her newest film was emotionally intense, but not quite that harrowing. For Casting JonBenet, Green traveled to Boulder, Colorado -- the scene of the crime -- to film auditions with local actors to play the parents -- John and Patsy Ramsey -- their son Burke, JonBenet herself, and others who were caught up in the saga.

For many viewers, Casting JonBenet raises immediate questions about whether the actors auditioning for roles in a nonexistent movie had been duped. Green tells us how that was not the case -- she says she carefully explained to participants what they were signing up for, and that for many people living in Boulder, telling their JonBenet stories and theories ended up being a cathartic experience.

Kitty Green, film director and editor (@kittygreen)


Kim Masters

Kaitlin Parker

Subscribe to the 5 Things To Do newsletter

Never miss the best of what to do with your free time.


More From The Business


Latest From KCRW

View Schedule


View All Events


Player Embed Code