'Killer Pickton' movie already made

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Film not shown or sold in Canada

Jane Wolsak/canadian press

Pickton has been charged with killing 26 women from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

The star of a movie, purportedly based on alleged serial murderer Robert Pickton, said the film was draining and terrifying because she knew it was based on real events.

"Working with that kind of storyline it's fake in your world, but it scares the hell out of you because you know it actually happened," said Jillian Swanson, who starred in Ulli Lommel's Killer Pickton.

The events shown in the movie may not have happened. The allegations against Pickton, who has pled not guilty to 26 counts of first-degree murder, have not been proven in a court of law.

His trial on six of those counts is underway in New Westminster.

For her part, Swanson had never heard of Pickton or Vancouver's missing women until after she landed the role.

"It was an eye-opening experience," said Swanson, who was beginning her career. "I was an actor, hired to do a job. I got paid and I left that was my job."

Swanson, who now lives in Washington State, added that the victims in the film were not depicted as bad people, simply as troubled young girls.

In one scene, Swanson said she was tied to an attic ladder, crying and begging.

"It really is incredibly draining when you go home with that feeling still with you," she said.

"Knowing that it's real is even worse."

Lommel, a German director, has also made films based on the Green River murders and the B.T.K. killer.

Killer Pickton was filmed two years ago in New Hampshire.

In September, RCMP launched an investigation into whether the movie, which was supposed to be released in Australia in October, was in breach of a publication ban.

RCMP Staff Sgt. John Ward said the investigation concluded that the film did not breach the publication ban because it was not shown or sold in Canada.

He said the movie is not being distributed and RCMP were not able to get a hold of a copy.

This entry is filed under Vancouver News

Vancouver Go.Com

Victim's sister outraged by Pickton movie

Canadian police investigating whether serial killer film violates publication ban

The Associated Press


VANCOUVER, British Columbia Canadian police are investigating whether a film about a serial killer who preyed on women who disappeared from a Vancouver slum neighborhood violates Canadian law, police said Monday.

The film, called "Killer Pickton," directed by German director Ulli Lommel, is due for release in Australia on Oct. 18, six weeks before jury selection begins in the case of real-life alleged serial killer Robert William Pickton.

Pickton, 56, is accused of 26 counts of first-degree murder in connection with the case of more than 60 women who vanished from the city's Downtown Eastside slum over almost 20 years.

A blanket publication ban on reporting evidence from the court hearings has prevented the media from writing or broadcasting details of the case. The ban is in effect to prevent potential contamination of the jury pool so Pickton can receive a fair trial.

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sgt. John Ward said they are looking into whether the film violates the ban.

"We are actively investigating that. We're going to see if we can get a copy of the DVD if it exists," Ward said. "The issue at hand is does it contravene the publication ban. As we haven't seen it, we can't determine that."

Family members and friends of women who have disappeared are appalled that someone would make a film based on the case.

Among the women whose deaths Pickton is charged in is sex-trade worker Sarah De Vries. Her friend, Wayne Leng, desperately searched the Downtown Eastside after she disappeared on April 14, 1998.

He has no plans to see the film.

"Its disgusting," he said from his home in California. "Its purely greed driven, motivated by money. I cant see any other reason for doing it. Were looking at human beings here, real human beings and its based on their lives."

Leng said he has spoken with de Vries family members about the film.

"It's really affected a lot of the family members," he said. "They're quite upset about it."

Leng also said he had contacted one of the actresses in the film, Kate Hackett, by e-mail.

"She didn't really want to talk about it," he said. "She said: 'Look, I'm just an actress. I'm doing a job.'"

So far, there are no plans to distribute the film in Canada.

As long as the film is not available to anyone in Canada, the court order restricting publication of evidence in the case until it is presented to the jury would have no impact on it, prosecution spokesman Stan Lowe said.

Pickton's lawyer, Peter Ritchie, said he was not concerned about the film having any impact on his client's defense.

"No sensible prospective juror is going to be troubled by looking at that," Ritchie said. "People have too much sense to be troubled by that trash."

Lommel has also made films about Seattle's Green River Killer and the Zodiac Killer.

Seattle man Gary Ridgway pleaded guilty in late 2003 to killing 48 prostitutes in the Seattle area in late 2003. The infamous Zodiac Killer murdered at least six people in the San Francisco Bay Area during the late 1960s and 1970s, but the case was never solved.

Copyright 2007 the International Herald Tribune All rights reserved

International Herald Tribune

Victim's sister outraged by Pickton movie

The Thriller



Missing Women Tip Line: 1-877-687-3377

Updated: August 21, 2016