Brother's Keeper (1992)

Delbert, Bill, Lyman, and Roscoe Ward are illiterate bachelor brothers who never ventured beyond their 99-acre dairy farm in Central New York State.  Known by their neighbors as “The Ward Boys”, the brothers shared a two-room shack with no running water or indoor toilet for as long as anyone could remember. 

But their quiet life was shattered June 6, 1990, when Bill was found dead in the bed he shared with Delbert.  By day’s end, Delbert had confessed to suffocating the ailing Bill as an act of mercy, but the local community believed Delbert was being framed.  Delbert’s subsequent retraction, the village’s fervent belief in his innocence, and the national media attention visited upon a sleepy rural community make BROTHER’S KEEPER a real-life murder mystery that examines larger social issues such as euthanasia, the plight of the aging, rural poverty and the fairness of the American justice system.

The film provides a fascinating portrait of The Ward Brothers’ eccentric and time-warped existence as it clashes with the modern criminal justice system -- from pre-trial courtroom drama to lively village fundraisers; from the initial media feeding frenzy to the explosive trial itself.

Awards

Winner
Best Documentary
National Board of Review
1992
Winner
Best Documentary
Directors Guild of America
1993
Winner
Audience Award 
Sundance Film Festival
1992
Winner
Best Documentary
New York Film Critic's Circle
1992
Winner
Special Jury Prize
Festival dei Popoli
1993
Winner
Best Documentary
Boston Society of Film Critics
1992

Credits

Produced, Directed, and Edited by
Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
Director of Photography 
Douglass Cooper
Original Music Composed and Arranged by
Jay Ungar and Molly Mason
Executive Producers
Lindsay Law and Joe Berlinger 
Post Production Supervisor 
Bruce Sinofsky