Slated for Sundance’s US Documentary competition section, director Marc Silver’s “3 1/2 Minutes” looks to be a harrowing exploration of criminal justice gone awry — and an all-too-timely film that speaks loudly to the current racial climate in America. (Trailer below.)
Here’s the synopsis:
In “3 1⁄2 Minutes,” two lives intersected and were forever altered. On Black Friday in 2012, two cars parked next to each other at a Florida gas station. A white middle-aged male and a black teenager exchanged angry words over the volume of the music in the boy’s car. A gun entered the exchange, and one of them was left dead.
Michael Dunn fired 10 bullets at a car full of unarmed teenagers and then fled. Three of those bullets hit 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who died at the scene. Arrested the next day, Dunn claimed he shot in self-defense. Thus began the long journey of unraveling the truth. “3 1⁄2 Minutes” follows that journey, reconstructing the night of the murder and revealing how hidden racial prejudice can result in tragedy.
The projected originated with producer Minette Nelson, whose son brought Davis’ story to her. She approached Marc Silver, whose feature-length documentary debut “Who Is Dayani Cristal?” featured Gael Garcia Bernal and won a cinematography award in Sundance’s World Documentary Cinema section. Silver travelled to Jacksonville in the summer of 2013 to begin shooting “3 1/2 Minutes,” which interweaves exclusive trial footage, observational scenes of Jordan’s parents, Ron and Lucy, police interrogation footage, prison phone records, eye-witness testimonies and more.