Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Paul Bernardo & Karla Homolka

Hollywood Exploits Karla's Crimes

Photo: Lawyer Tim Danson
Lawyer Tim Danson

The Montreal World Film Festival became the center of controversy with its plan to screen a film based on the crimes of Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo. The Hollywood movie, produced by Michael Sellers, stars Laura Prepon as Karla Homolka and Misha Collins as Paul Bernardo.

Tim Danson, lawyer for families of Homolka's and Bernardo's victims calls the decision to screen the film Karla extremely "sensational and exploitive." Guy Dixon of the Globe and Mail wrote July 27, 2005, that Danson "may take legal action under Canadian child pornography laws... if [the film] depicts too graphically the sexual abuse, nudity and torture of the underage victims.

Photo: Producer Michael Sellers
Producer Michael Sellers

Greg Bonnell of Canadian Press reported the Sellers had offered the families an "exclusive screening" in Toronto. Sellers told Bonnell that he had spent months consulting with Danson.

"We just don't feel that we've, in any way, defamed the memory of these people," Sellers said.

Sellers told Guy Dixon that the film's re-enactments of the crimes were from Karla's perspective and that "the camera pans away from graphic, sexual violence... although the violence is heard on the soundtrack."

Photo: Serge Losique
Serge Losique

The film centers on Karla Homolka's sessions with a psychiatrist during which Karla allegedly portrays herself as a victim, while the psychiatrist questions that account.

Serge Losique, the president of the Montreal festival, told Dixon that "the film was chosen solely on its artistic merit.


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