The Central Park Five
Sarah Burns, Ken Burns, Dave McMahon

Tuesday Jul 30, 2013

Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
Midtown East
2nd Ave & E 47th St New York, NY 10017
4, 5, 6, 7, or S to 42nd Street.

8:00PMDoors Open
8:30 PMFilm Begins
No refunds. In the event of rain, show will be rescheduled. Please visit for rain details. Seating is first come, first served. No outside alcohol is permitted.


This Show Presented in Partnership With
Ford Foundation
Friends of Dag Hammarskjold Plaza
Florentine Films
Free Show
Free Show

The Central Park Five (Sarah Burns, Ken Burns, Dave McMahon | New York, NY | 119 min.)

Throughout New York’s highs and lows, the legendary Central Park has remained, as Mayor Ed Koch says, "Holy.” But on April 19, 1989, a 28-year old white woman was beaten and raped in New York’s hallowed ground. Within days, five teenage boys, four black and one Hispanic, were arrested and indicted. The boys were tried first in the court of public opinion, and eventually found guilty in criminal court. In The Central Park Five, the filmmakers explore how these teenagers became a proxy for everything society fears, and how, in a rush for justice, the truth was ignored.

Co-directors Ken Burns, Sarah Burns and David McMahon paint a brutally honest portrait of New York City in 1989, a city very different from the place we live now, but one that echoes poignant similarities. New York then was a gritty city where crime was rampant; but even now law enforcement upholds certain policies such as “stop and frisk,” where young Black and Latino men are stopped by cops at random, and held for minor infractions while law enforcement seeks to attach their mere existence to larger crimes.

Using heartbreaking testimonials from all five of the men convicted and ultimately exonerated in the Central Park Jogger case, alongside scholars, journalists, Mayor Koch and Mayor Dinkins, the filmmakers seek to make sense of what happened. In the search for justice we learn what happens when we dehumanize other people and the emotional toll of suffering hoisted upon young men who simply believed that the truth would come out. This compelling film about our city and our justice system asks the question: what lies are we willing to believe about other people in order to sleep soundly at night?

- Sarah Feuquay

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.