Brother’s Keeper

Thematic Crime and Punishment Curated by Joe Berlinger

A murder trial ignites the small farming community of Munnsville, New York, when Delbert Ward, an eccentric and uneducated man, confesses to suffocating his brother William. Delbert and William shared a bed in the dilapidated and isolated home where they lived a reclusive existence with their two other siblings. Was the killing an act of mercy? Was Delbert’s confession coerced? In Brother’s Keeper, a surprisingly complicated story emerges. As national media descend on the town, some community members rise to Delbert’s defense, while others question whether a more complicated motive may exist. With incredible access to detectives, lawyers, and most amazingly, the Ward brothers themselves, the film reveals the ways that media representation and stereotypical narratives impacted the legal process. Delbert’s humble way of life is shown in stark contrast to his ordeal in the courtroom, calling into question whether he is competent to fairly stand trial. Bold and cinematic, this stirring film invites the viewer to consider uncomfortable questions about a particularly thorny case and our own capacity for prejudice.  ST

Q&A following screening


Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky


Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky


Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky


Douglas Cooper

Release Year


Festival Year



United States

Run Time

104 minutes