Filmmaker Ken Burns on "The Central Park Five" and racial inequality in America

Mar 20, 2013

Filmmaker Ken Burns is hands-down one of the world's leading creators of documentaries.

He has helped modern-day audiences understand and appreciate The Civil War, World War II, the jazz age, prohibition, baseball, the Shakers, America's national parks and many more aspects of American life.

Now, he is returning to Ann Arbor, the town of his boyhood.

He'll be here to talk about race and inequality as part of the Penny W. Stamps lecture series but more importantly to present his film, "The Central Park Five" at the Ann Arbor Film Festival.

"The Central Park Five" is different from most of Burns' work in that it is quite recent, and focusing on a crime that made huge headlines that many of us remember vividly.

The film covers the widely-reported attack on a woman who was jogging in Central Park in 1989.

"The Central Park Five," were the group of young black males that were wrongfully accused and convicted of the crime.

Here is the trailer of the upcoming film "The Central Park Five".

The documentary covers the injustice,  lack of evidence and oversight from police, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, as well as news coverage and mass hysteria that led to the five false convictions.

The documentary has stirred up controversy and some pushback from the City of New York in this case.

Burns recently won a major legal battle against the city of New York when the city issued a subpoena to view film out-takes and notes to use in a law-suit filed by the now exonerated members of "The Central Park Five."

One of the City Attorneys, Celeste Koelveld said that Burns "crossed the line from journalism to advocacy" for the five men.

We had  a chance to sit down with filmmaker Ken Burns, we got hear about what exactly drew him to the story and his thoughts about the state of race and inequality in America in 2013.

"The Central Park Five" will be at the Ann Arbor Film Festival on Saturday at noon. More information can be found at aafilmfest.org.