Home News Joe Berlinger tells off Amber Sealey over Ted Bundy film

Joe Berlinger tells off Amber Sealey over Ted Bundy film

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There’s a killer controversy at the Tribeca Festival.

Oscar-nominated filmmaker Joe Berlinger — who directed the Netflix docuseries “Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes” as well as the Bundy-based film, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” starring Zac Efron — is accusing another filmmaker of slamming his Bundy films to promote her own.

Berlinger sent an email to director Amber Sealey on the same day that her Ted Bundy-based movie “No Man of God” premiered at the Tribeca Festival. Berlinger’s email — which was posted online by Sealey — had the subject line, “Your bashing of my Bundy project,” and the missive went on to accuse Sealey of “tearing down my work to promote yours.”

Berlinger’s note read: “Forgive the unsolicited advice, but after reading some of your interviews about your Bundy movie, I feel compelled to tell you that tearing down my work to promote yours is a slippery slope and intellectually dishonest and deeply offensive.”

He added in the pointed note, “How did my film glorify Bundy?”

Sealey fired back in a comment about his email: “Received this unsolicited email this morning. Thanks for the support, Joe. We have an extra ticket for you to the [‘No Man of God’] premiere tonight if you’d like to see the movie for yourself and we can discuss more in person openly? Cuz this felt like you were just trying to make me feel sh–ty right before my screening. Have a great day. #femalefilmmakerfriday #bundyisdivisive.”

Berlinger also wrote to Sealey in his email, “I wish you the best with the film but please don’t promote it at my expense. I hope you have a critical response, but I think once your reviews are in, you will find that some of your reviewers will purposely misunderstand your intention and criticize your work as glorification … Perhaps you will later have more empathy for what I am saying here. Good luck with your premiere.”

Berlinger told Variety, “Promoting her film about the rape and murder of women by tearing down my film that was designed to be a victim-focused film about the psychology of betrayal and deception, made with the full support of victim Liz Kendall, played by Lily Collins, and was supported by other victims of Bundy’s crimes felt intellectually dishonest.

“In a private email, I let Amber know my feelings in a thoughtful manner. Her publication of that private email is as self-promotional as her comments about my film. There is room for many takes on a subject, and I wish her the best. It’s a miracle that any film gets made these days — so to tear down other people’s work to promote your own is not how filmmakers should treat one another. Remember, she made it public, not me. Mine was a private email.”

Joe Berlinger has directed two Ted Bundy-centric films.
Joe Berlinger has directed two Ted Bundy-centric films.
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His “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” received a 54-percent “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, while his “Ted Bundy Tapes” received 56 percent.

Sealey’s film stars “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” actor Luke Kirby as Bundy, and Elijah Wood as an FBI profiler.

Infamous serial killer Bundy confessed to killing 30 women, and is believed to have murdered even more. He was executed in 1989.

Sealey previously had told Refinery29 — without referencing Berlinger by name — “I don’t personally believe that any of the movies that have already been made up until now have really shown the real Bundy. They always glorify him. They make him out to be a male model —  so smart, so charismatic, a master of disguise. I don’t see that.

“When I look at him, and I watch interviews, and I listen to the tapes, I see a deeply insecure, needy — almost like an incel —  kind of guy who just wants accolades and wants people to tell him how great he is.”

The film screened on Friday with a pre-reception at Nearly Ninth at the Arlo in midtown attended by Katie Holmes and sponsored by Billionaires Row Champagne. The film fest runs through June 20.

Berlinger’s credits also include “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster” and “Paradise Lost: The Childhood Murders at Robin Hood Hills.”