Ava DuVernay Is Making a Netflix Show About the Central Park Five


Filmmaker activist extraordinaire Ava DuVernay hasn’t even released her trailblazing adaptation of A Wrinkle in Time, but she’s already booked her next project. DuVernay will be teaming back up with Netflix (who released her Oscar-nominated prison documentary 13th) and Oprah Winfrey (who’s the executive producer of DuVernay’s series Queen Sugar, which airs on OWN) for a fictional series about the Central Park Five.

As a reminder: The Central Park Five were five black and Latinx teenagers—Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise—who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for the brutal 1989 rape and murder of a white woman, Trisha Melli in Central Park in New York. They spent years in prison before being exonerated. At the time, Donald Trump took out full-page advertisements in New York’s four daily newspapers calling for the death penalty for the teenagers—something which is actually addressed in DuVernay’s 13th.

Each chapter of the new Netflix series will be centered around one of the teens, and will take place between 1989 and 2014, when they settled their lawsuit against New York City. In Netflix’s official press release, DuVernay said:

“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. The story of the men known as the 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.”

She also posted a tweet showing her with some of the members of the Five:

The series will be released in 2019, 30 years after the Five were initially betrayed by New York’s criminal justice system.

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