2012 has been another great year for documentary films and The Central Park Five, produced, written, and directed by filmmakers Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns, is one of the best. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city plagued by violence and racial tension, the film tells the story of how five young men’s lives were upended by a rush to judgment. In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested and wrongly convicted of beating and raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. New York Mayer Ed Koch called it the “crime of the century” and it remains to date one of the biggest media stories of our time.
At the film’s press day, Sarah Burns, McMahon, and Raymond Santana, one of the Central Park Five, discussed why the medium of film provided new opportunities for the Five to tell their story in their own words, why the filmmakers are fighting a subpoena from the city of New York for footage from their documentary, how the convictions were vacated in 2002 but the Five have still not been officially exonerated a decade later, and why this story is significant in the context of how we see race in America. Hit the jump for the interview.