West of Memphis Music by Nick Cave, Warren Ellis

Now that Grinderman are “over” and the beginning stages of a new Bad Seeds record have supposedly begun, the great Nick Cave should have a healthy break from the road to focus on other projects. Two promising new films, in particular, have Cave’s name attached and will be hitting theaters in 2012. In addition to frequent collaborator/director John Hillcoat’s forthcoming film The Wettest County in the World, which features a Cave-penned script, the Australian art-rock icon has teamed up with Grinderman, Bad Seeds, and Dirty Three member Warren Ellis once again to provide music for the documentary West of Memphis.

Produced by Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit/Meet the Feebles director Peter Jackson, the film revisits the near-20-year battle to reverse the convictions of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelly for the murder of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas in 1993. While the three individuals convicted of the crime — referred to often as the West Memphis Three — were freed from prison last year after 18 years spent behind bars, many unanswered questions, namely the identity of the true killer, loom.

According to details provided to the press, West of Memphis will bring new evidence in the case to the table, as well as more recent interviews and perspective in the wake of last year’s turn of events. Given the disturbing nature of the crime itself and its chilling aftermath, Cave and Ellis’ proven prowess in tension-building sonic landscapes for film and use of nuanced juxtaposition should work quite well for this project. We’ll have to wait a bit to catch the full film, as it’s making its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival this month, but in the meantime, watch the official trailer below: