During our recent webcam chat (watch the exclusive video above), director Ryan White describes the Emmy nomination for his multi-part documentary “The Keepers” as “a validation of the people who shared their stories in the series, and how brave that was of them.” This Netflix original examines the unsolved murder of Sister Cathy Cesnik, an English teacher at Baltimore’s Archbishop Keough High School, and the belief held by former students she was murdered to cover-up rampant child sexual abuse by one of the school’s priests, A. Joseph Maskell. “I know it was very rewarding for them to hear we got an Emmy nomination,” reveals White of the films subjects.
The documentarian divulges he first became interested in the story through a personal connection. “My family is a big Catholic family in Baltimore,” he explains, “and my aunt was Sister Cathy’s student.” From there, he was introduced to Jean Wehner (a.k.a. Jane Doe), a former student who was repeatedly abused by Maskell. White admits he “had no idea how deep and dark the story actually ran.”
White previously competed at the Emmys for his documentary “The Case Against 8” (2014), which examined the fight to overturn California’s same-sex marriage ban. He contends this year against “American Masters,” “Chef’s Table,” “Planet Earth II,” and “30 for 30.” Can “The Keepers” follow in the footsteps of “Making a Murderer” (2015) and become the latest Netflix true crime series to win this award? Check out our full interview above for more about White’s work.
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