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Ava Duvernay teams with Netflix for Central Park Five limited drama series

SELMA director Ava Duvernay is partnering with Participant Media, Harpo Films and Tribeca Productions in bringing the infamous true story of the Central Park Five jogger case to Netflix, for a 2019 premiere.

The dramatic series is set to be directed and written by Duvernay, who will strive to create a five-episode arc based on the true story of five teenagers, who, in 1989, were wrongfully convicted of raping a woman in New York's Central Park. The series will focus on exposing the breakdown of our criminal justice system, with each episode spotlighting one of the five teens from Harlem - Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise. Each of them were wrongfully convicted of raping Trisha Meili while she was out for a run in the famous park. In regard to the series timeline, it will span from the Spring of 1989, when each of the suspects were questioned about the crime, to 2014 when they were exonerated and a settlement was passed on behalf of the city of New York.

Duvernay will also act as the project's executive producer with Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King from Participant Media, Oprah Winfrey/Harpo Films, and Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh from Tribeca Productions.

In commenting on the project, 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 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.”

 Then, expressing her excitement for Duvernay's involvement, Cindy Holland, Vice President, Original Content for Netflix commented, "This is one of the most talked-about cases of our time and Ava’s passionate vision and masterful direction will bring the human stories behind the headlines to life in this series. After powerfully re-framing the public conversation about criminality and injustice in 13TH, Ava now turns a new lens to a case that exposes deep flaws in our criminal justice system.”

Jonathan King from Participant Media then added, “It’s an honor to be partnering again with Ava, a uniquely tenacious and inspiring artist. The events of this shocking story continue to resonate today, and the way Ava has chosen to focus intimately on the five young men foregrounds the human costs of this kind of tragedy. We are looking forward to working with Netflix, Tribeca and Harpo on Participant’s first scripted episodic series.”

Oh sure, Netflix, I'll just add another series log to the fire of my Netflix queue, no problem. It's not like I have a life or anything. Heh, I jest. I'm actually really looking forward to checking this out. Duvernay has proven herself to be a powerful filmmaker in the past, and I'm excited to see what her vision can bring to this sordid case.  You can expect CENTRAL PARK FIVE to hit Netflix real hard in 2019.

Extra Tidbit: Located in the middle of Manhattan Island, Central Park sprawls across 843 acres, covering about 3.5 square miles.

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