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Synopsis

A gripping murder mystery, true courtroom drama and cautionary environmental film, They Killed Sister Dorothy examines one American nun's life work in the rainforest of Brazil, and follows the sensational trials and arrest of the three men who killed her. A soft-spoken Catholic nun who had worked with Brazil's poor for over 30 years, Sister Dorothy's unlikely murder made shocking headlines around the world; more importantly, it exposed a sordid ongoing battle that was taking place in the Amazon rainforest, and raised questions about Sister Dorothy herself. Was she a martyred social advocate or, as some claimed, a social agitator? What powerful economic and political interests led to her murder? Will justice prevail and her legacy endure, or will she be vilified and her life's work destroyed? This feature documentary explores Sister Dorothy's unique case while examining its far-reaching implications. Narrated by Emmy®-winning actor Martin Sheen and produced by Academy Award® winner Nigel Noble (for Close Harmony) and Henry Ansbacher, They Killed Sister Dorothy weaves a tale of murder mystery and courtroom drama with surprising twists set against the larger battle for the rainforest.

Director Daniel Junge and producer Henry Ansbacher gained unprecedented access to people on all sides of the story: including Dorothy's brother, missionary David Stang, who travels to Brazil in search of answers; her colleagues and fellow nuns in Brazil, who continue her mission and search for justice; the peasant settlers she inspired; the killers who confessed (even chillingly demonstrating how they shot her); the federal prosecutor struggling to expose the intricacies of the crime; the defense lawyers hired to represent the killers; and Sister Dorothy herself, whom we see through archival video, photos and letters.

Director Daniel Junge's first feature, Chiefs, won Best Documentary at the 2002 Tribeca Film Festival. Since then he has directed the regional Emmy®-winner Big Blue Bear, the PBS-broadcast Reading Your Rights, the six-part series Common Good (four regional Emmys), and the award-winning documentary Iron Ladies of Liberia.

They Killed Sister Dorothy won the Audience Award and the Grand Jury Prize at this year's South by Southwest Film Festival, as well as the Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival. In November 2008, the film was placed on the Academy Award® shortlist for a Documentary Feature nomination.

Credits: Narrated by Martin Sheen; Directed by Daniel Junge; Produced by Henry Ansbacher & Nigel Noble; Co-Producer: Marcela Bourseau; Edited by Davis Coombe; Cinematographers: Marcela Bourseau & Daniel Junge; Original Music by Pedro Bromfman; Original Song "Forever" by Bebel Gilberto.

Sister Dorothy in jungle

They Killed Sister Dorothy