Ahead of Amber Sealey‘s debut of her Ted Bundy film, No Man of God, which screened June 11 at the Tribeca Film Festival, Joe Berlinger, the director of the Netflix docuseries Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and the Zac Efron-led Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, sent Sealey an e-mail criticizing her promotional interviews for her upcoming film.
Via Variety,“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,” Berlinger wrote in the email. “My work has gotten wrongfully convicted people out of prison; has changed laws and racially biased [policies] in prison; has led to the recognition by the US Congress for the Armenian genocide, among other social justice endeavors — so you promoting your film by saying my film glorified Bundy is deeply offensive. I wish you the best with the film but don’t promote it at my expense.”
After receiving the e-mail, Sealey took to her official Instagram page to reply. In a statement made to Deadline, she said she found the initial email to be “quite shocking.”
“Received this unsolicited email this morning. Thanks for the support, Joe,” Sealey posted. “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? Cuz this felt like you were just trying to make me feel sh*tty right before my screening. Have a great day. #femalefilmmakerfriday #bundyisdivisive”
It isn’t clear if Berlinger was referencing a specific interview, but Sealey made it clear that she’s not out to tear others down and that she just wanted to get across what her film brings to the Bundy narrative in comparison to other films about the infamous serial killer. She also said that she shared the e-mail not in an attempt to shame Berlinger, but because she felt like he was trying to “shame” and “silence” her.
“I feel like my film says something new and I shouldn’t have to feel shamed or silenced into not commenting on how I think my film is different from the ones that came before,” she wrote. “In every interview I’ve done I’ve been asked ‘why another Bundy film?’ because that of course is the obvious question. That he wanted me to not answer that question is disingenuous of him.”