It was a ritual every Wednesday night over a glass of pinot grigio, you turned on your TV, sat back, and lived life through Carrie Bradshaw eyes. Comparing your best…
Ava DuVernay, the phenomenal director behind the Netflix documentary 13TH, returns to the streaming giant in 2019 with a new limited series focusing on the “Central Park Five.” The series has been given the greenlight for a five-episode run, with DuVernay attached as the writer and director for the series.
Still untitled, the series is based on the 1989 case of five teenagers who were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in New York City’s Central Park. The five wrongfully convicted men (Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise) will each be the focus of their own episode, as DuVernay examines how a bloodthirsty media (and future President) and a broken justice system combined to send five innocent men to prison. Additionally, the five episodes will take place in a different period of time ranging from 1989, following Trisha Meili’s rape in Central Park, to 2014, when the five men were finally exonerated.
DuVernay’s prior partnership with Netflix produced 13TH, a documentary about the 13th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution that freed slaves and banned slavery, except for when it comes to convicted felons. DuVernay explores how that small loophole, alongside years of systemic racism in the justice system, has kept slavery alive and well within the confines of the prison system.
Netflix tends to make forever friendships with creators by allowing them to tell their story with little interference, and DuVernay is no exception. For the most part, it’s what brought her back to the streaming service with this new project. “I had an extraordinary experience working with Netflix on 13TH and am overjoyed to continue this exploration of the criminal justice system as a narrative project with Cindy Holland and the team there,” she said in a statement, “The story of the men known as Central Park Five has riveted me for more than two decades. In their journey, we witness five innocent young men of color who were met with injustice at every turn – from coerced confessions to unjust incarceration to public calls for their execution by the man who would go on to be the President of the United States.”
Participant Media, Tribeca Productions, and Harpo Productions are backing the project, with DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Skoll, Jonathan King, Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh serving as executive producers. Winfrey and DuVernay had previously collaborated on the Oscar-winning film Selma and the OWN series Queen Sugar. The team is joined by Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content for Netflix.
“This is one of the most talked-about cases of our time and Ava’s passionate vision and masterful direction will bring the human stories behind the headlines to life in this series,” says Holland. “After powerfully reframing the public conversation about criminality and injustice in 13TH, Ava now turns a new lens to a case that exposes deep flaws in our criminal justice system.”
There is no cast or release date, but we were big fans of 13TH and will be following the developments of this new series closely. In the meantime, DuVernay’s documentary is still available on Netflix and should be bumped to the top of your list.