Hi Christina, I was so fascinated with this project when I saw the email. I have had a lot of horrible things happen in my life and I have a fascination with true crime and documentaries. How did you get involved with this?
C.F.- This project started for me in 2007. A good friend of mine was sharing the story of her brother who went missing in 2001. After a lot of searching and investigating done by the family because her brother was an adult, the family felt the police were not taking it seriously and had to bear the brunt of carrying the investigation. They ended up finding her brothers remains. She was sharing the story and I was originally going to help her get justice for her brother now that they he had been murdered. It was emotional for her which I totally understood. I became fascinated on educating myself on what it was like for families of the missing. I linked up with a non-profit called, Project Jason, and I started meeting families all over the country. I wanted to share their stories. I met the family of Christina Whittaker in 2010 at a retreat for families of the missing. What stuck me about that case was that they had active leads, and the tenacity and passion that Christina’s mom had for finding her.
I think this is helpful. I think the worst thing is not knowing and the fact that your bringing light to these cases. How did you feel about all of this?
C.F.- Early on when I had a larger documentary idea for this, I learned that when a trauma happens, and God forbid your loved is killed, your brain and body make up knows that this is the tragedy I’m dealing with. The not knowing is so much worse than anything. It actually changes the chemical make up of your brain. That your body doesn’t know how to process because you don’t know if your loved one is alive or not. Originally, I had planned to be a fly on the wall. I had no intention of taking an active role in investigations. This particular story is so complex and because of the allegations that started coming through, the only way to get to the bottom of the truth was to start taking an active role. That’s how I sort of got into actively investigating the case.
How did you prepare yourself for all of this? I would imagine this was stressful, overwhelming, and emotional.
C.F.- I have an admission in one of the later episodes that I didn’t prepare myself. I attached myself to a family that I wanted to help. I wasn’t always objective in the beginning because I felt protective. That stemmed from caring for my own friends and all the wonderful families I’ve met along the way. I was ignoring certain things that weren’t adding up. I realized along the way unless you put all the information out there, you’re trying to solve a puzzle without all of the pieces. Some of the things that you need to face in these cases are hard.
Do you think you would continue this series, and look into other cases?
C.F.- You know, ever since our episodes have started, I have been contacted by other families. I think there is something to be said for all the stories and the people who are dedicated to seeking justice. I am getting a lot of these calls and I would love nothing more to share the stories of other people being relentless.
What do you want to say to everyone that will be watching Relentless?
C.F.- Remember to be skeptical but also be kind. I want people to remember that no matter what comes out, this is the family of a missing person. I want people to remember to be kind.
Thank you so much, Christina. It was an honor talking to you.
C.F.- Thank you so much. I appreciate you having me.
SHE STARTED THE SEARCH FOR A MISSING WOMAN, AND NOW SHE CANNOT STOP. FOLLOW A FILMMAKER’S OBSESSIVE JOURNEY TO FIND THE TRUTH IN THIS NEW SERIES
A Limited True Crime Six-Part Docuseries From Blumhouse Television and Stick Figure Entertainment
The first four episodes of RELENTLESS are now streaming exclusively on discovery+
Subsequent episodes drop every Monday
Directed and Executive Produced by: Christina Fontana