Ken Burns is one of cinema’s top documentary filmmakers. He has made epic documentaries about the history of baseball, jazz, the Civil War as well as many others, some of which clock in at over 20 hours in length. However, his most recent documentary is one that he considers one of his most important. That movie is “Central Park Five” and tells the story of five men wrongly convicted of a rape and murder in New York City’s Central Park in 1989.
The five men ended up exonerated in 2002, 13 years later, when a convicted rapist in prison named Matias Reyes admitted to the crime. DNA evidence proved that Reyes was the guilty party and the five men convicted of the murder were innocent of all charges. At the time of their arrest, the teenagers admitted to the crime, but later said they were intimidated and coerced in admitting to the murder and rape of the young woman.
The five men sued New York City after their exoneration and the city refuses to reach a settlement with the men because of their prior admissions of guilt. New York City detectives still deny using coercion and deceit to get the admissions, which is why no settlement has been reached between the parties.
Ken Burns and “The Central Park Five”
That led to Ken Burns creating the documentary “The Central Park Five,” telling the story of what happened to these five teenagers in 1989. The movie weighs heavily in the favor of the five men wrongly convicted of the crimes and New York City is not happy about the film’s release. The city demanded to see the unused footage from the film, but Burns and his producers refused the requests.
The fact of the matter is that a documentary filmmaker is the same as a journalist, collecting information and presenting it for the public to digest. However, New York City attorneys claim that, because the movie was solidly in the corner of the plaintiffs in the case against the city, that Burns cannot consider himself protected by journalistic laws. The argument was whether the movie was objective, and Burns argued that it was objective, but the evidence weighed heavily in favor of the five men, so that is what his movie showed.
A District Court judge in New York City agreed with Ken Burns and blocked the subpoena for the outtakes and extra footage. This was a huge victory for documentary filmmakers everywhere and helped protect the people who try to create these sorts of films for the public.
Coen Brothers Prepare to Sell New Film, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’
Bryan Singer Hints Return of More Classic ‘X-Men’ Characters
WWE Star Stone Cold Steve Austin Signs New Movie Deal
BAFTA’s Award Ben Affleck Best Director for ‘Argo’
Lawrence Kasdan Hired to Write ‘Star Wars’ Film