Ava DuVernay to write, direct Central Park Five series for Netflix.

Ava DuVernay Will Reteam With Netflix for a Series About the Central Park Five

Ava DuVernay Will Reteam With Netflix for a Series About the Central Park Five

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
July 6 2017 4:09 PM

Ava DuVernay Will Reteam With Netflix for a Series About the Central Park Five

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If DuVernay's Netflix documentary 13th is any indicator, this collaboration will result in some powerful storytelling.

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When does Ava DuVernay find time to sleep? The filmmaker announced Thursday that in addition to the myriad of other projects she has in the works, she is also reteaming with Netflix for a new limited series about the Central Park Five. Unlike her previous Netflix project 13th, a devastating documentary about mass incarceration in America, DuVernay’s new project will be a scripted, five-episode series that dramatizes the story of five young men of color who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman jogging through Central Park in 1989.

“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,” said DuVernay in a press release. “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.”

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That last part is a harsh, but necessary, reminder: In 1989, Donald Trump took out an ad in four newspapers calling for the reinstatement of the death penalty for “criminals of every age,” which has widely been interpreted to mean the teenagers in the Central Park case. New DNA evidence and a confession from another man led the Central Park Five to be exonerated in 2002, but Trump has maintained as recently as last year that he still believes they are guilty. “They admitted they were guilty," he told CNN in October. “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.”

Does the president have a Netflix subscription? If not, there's plenty of time to get him one before the series premieres in 2019.

Marissa Martinelli is a Slate editorial assistant.