Joe Berlinger sent an angry email to fellow director Amber Sealey over her comments about his Ted Bundy projects.
The filmmaker behind Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, which starred Zac Efron as the notorious serial killer, accused Sealey – who is releasing a new film about Bundy – of “tearing down” his work.
Berlinger also directed the Netflix docu-series Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes.
In a screenshot of an email that Sealey shared on her Instagram, he wrote to her: “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.
“How did my film glorify Bundy? Do you know anything about me and my 30 years focusing on criminal justice issues in my work, from wrongful conviction to criminal advocacy.”
He continued: “Interestingly, my Bundy doc series was accused by some of glorification because it discussed the hideous violence against women, and then my Bundy movie with Efron, which came out second, was criticised for glorifying Bundy by NOT showing any violence (until the final scene). Which is it?”
In the caption of her Instagram post, Sealey wrote: “We have an extra ticket for you to the #NoManOfGod premiere tonight if you’d like to see the movie for yourself and we can discuss more in person openly?”
She continued: “Cuz this felt like you were just trying to make me feel s****y right before my screening. Have a great day. #femalefilmmakerfriday #bundyisdivisive.”
Berlinger issued a statement to Varietyafter Sealey posted to Instagram, in which he said he had intended to keep their exchange private and suggested she was trying to seek publicity by sharing his email.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
No Man of God stars Luke Kirby as Bundy and Elijah Wood is Bill Hagmaier, the FBI agent Bundy confessed to.