The Trials of Pamela Smart


“A superb example of the form” –  Anthony Kaufman, SundanceNow

“A fascinating and haunting meditation on America’s flawed justice system” - VICE

A small-town murder in New England became one of the highest-profile cases of the twentieth century. As the first fully televised court case, the Pamela Smart trial rattled the consciousness of America. From gavel to gavel, a nation tuned in, and reality TV was born. Pulsating with sex, drugs, betrayal, and murder, the trial inspired 20 years of television shows, books, plays, and movies, including To Die For, starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Gus Van Sant.


Unfolding with the suspense of a fiction film, Captivated: The Trials of Pamela Smart reexamines a case we thought we knew and cuts into deeper, hidden layers. With surgical precision, master filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar unmasks the role of the media in creating a skewed version of reality that the public now accepts as truth. Fascinating, sexy, and cunningly brilliant, Captivated makes us question everything we’re told as the line between journalism and entertainment continues to blur.

(text from the Sundance 2014 film guide)

“Solidly entertaining”  - Damon Wise, EMPIRE

“A fascinating look at the birth of the court trial as televised spectacle, and how the packaging and repackaging of “real-life” stories inevitably turns them into fiction.” 

“A riveting look at the first televised murder trial and a harbinger of reality television madness to come” - Dan Nailen, Salt Lake Magazine

You can find out more about us by visiting the Hard Working Movies website here, and you can contact us here.