Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ken Burns' "The Central Park Five" Closes Montreal Black Film Fest

THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE to close the 8th Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF)

The heart-wrenching film, The Central Park Five, will close the 8thannual Montreal International Black Film Festival on September 30, as a Quebec Premiere. THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE, which was also selected last May for the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival this fall, was directed by Ken Burns, David McMahon and Sarah Burns, who have said that the film represents "the untold story of one of New York City's most horrible crimes."

"It is an honour to have this film make its Quebec debut at the MIBFF. We always close the festival with a hard-hitting film, and THE CENTRAL PARK FIVE is undoubtedly a film that will send chills down your spine, take you to the depths of human evil and change the way you think," stated Fabienne Colas, President-Founder of the Festival.

In 1989, five Black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested and later convicted of raping a white woman in New York City's Central Park. They spent between six and thirteen years in prison before a serial rapist confessed that he alone had committed the crime, leading to their convictions being overturned. Set against a backdrop of a decaying city beset by violence and racial tension, the film tells the story of this horrific crime, the rush to judgment by the police, a media clamoring for sensational stories and an outraged public, and the five lives upended by this miscarriage of justice.

"This tragedy reminds us how much we struggle to come to terms with America's original sin, which is race. One only needs to look at the history books to understand that, unfortunately, the Central Park Five are not unique in American history," said Ken Burns. "This case is a lens through which we can understand the on-going fault-line of race in America. These young men were convicted long before the trial, by a city blinded by fear and, equally, freighted by race. They were convicted because it was all too easy for people to see them as violent criminals simply because of the color of their skin." said Sarah Burns, who also wrote The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding (Knopf, 2011). "Ultimately The Central Park Five is about human dignity. It is about five young men who lose their youth but maintain their dignity in the face of a horrific and unimaginable situation." said David McMahon.

The 8th annual MIBFF will take place from September 19 to 30, 2012, and is presented by Global Montreal.

Presented by Global Montreal, the Montreal International Black Film Festival (MIBFF) was created in 2005 by the Fabienne Colas Foundation, anon-profit organization dedicated to promoting Cinema, Art and Culture. The mission of the MIBFF is to stimulate the development of the independent film industry and to showcase more films on the realities of Blacks from around the world. The Festival wants to promote a different kind of cinema, cinema that hails from here and from abroad and that does not necessarily have the opportunity to grace the big screen, groundbreaking cinema that moves us, that raises awareness and that takes us all by surprise! The MIBFF wants to deal with issues and present works that raise questions, that provoke, that make us smile, that leave us perplexed, that shock us... A fresh new look at black cinema from the four corners of the globe.

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