Tag Archives: michael dunn

Film Review: 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets (3 ½ Minutes Can Last a Lifetime!)

Written by Orville “Kunga” Dread
04.10.15

 

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“Trayvon’s father text me a couple days after it happened,” he said… “I just want to welcome you to a club that none of us want to be in.” – Ron Davis father of Jordan Davis (February 19, 1995- November 23, 2012)

On Friday November 23 2012 at around 7.30pm, Jordan Davis 17, African-American was shot 3 times by Michael Dunn a 47 year old, white American who took a dislike to the loud ‘rap-crap’ music coming from the vehicle Jordan and his friends were sitting in. 7 more shots were fired as Davis’s teenage friends tried, panic-stricken, to make their escape from the Jacksonville petrol station in middle-class suburbia.
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3 ½ minutes, Ten bullets (2015), is a groundbreaking, access-all-areas documentary by award-winning director Marc Silver (photo) and is both intrusive and intimate. The critically acclaimed film also provides an insightful look at a justice system many consider to be flawed; in a country which purports to uphold the unalienable rights that all men are created equal, yet it’s a country where a black man is up to *40 times more likely to be shot by police than his white counterpart-  (*ProPublica 2014).

“If the facts are against you, then argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If both are against you, put someone else on trial!” – Closing argument of Florida Assistant State Attorney, John Guy.

John Guy the attorney for the state of Florida was also involved in the Trayvon Martin case in a failed attempt to prosecute George Zimmerman; Zimmerman who also felt he had no choice but to defend himself, to stand his ground and to shoot a 17 year old teenager to death. It is this paradox this gripping documentary attempts to scrutinise. How does a man, of apparent good standing, now stand accused of the murder of an unarmed teenager, calmly leave the scene and order a pizza? The film also asks questions of society at large. A society that has been taught to view young Black men as armed, angry and dangerous.

Stand your ground  – “A person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if: He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself”

The controversial section of that law relates to the fact that there is no “duty to retreat,” meaning that in non-stand your ground states one must, in most cases, “first attempt to get away if he or she is able to do so”.

In Florida the state where the two young men, Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin were both born, in the same month, and ironically linked in very similar and tragic outcomes. there is no such requirement; in fact the shooter is permitted to “stand his or her ground,” when firing in self defense and does not need to flee. Add to this the ruling that the shooter may have had an “honest but mistaken belief,” that the victim had a weapon then one can easily draw parallels with cases still simmering here in the U.K.
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The mental image of a belligerent Black ‘man’ in baggy pants and a hooded top may well have been enough to convince the majority white white jury to acquit Zimmerman allowing him to walk free, leaving America, once again, having to confront its uncomfortable history of colonisation and entrenched racism.

But Mark Silver (director) does not judge the system; he leaves that to the viewer. As with his previous critically acclaimed docu-feature Who is Dayani Crystal? (2014), the director skillfully connects quiet moments of reflection, with meticulous focus on the minutia, juxtaposed with the cacophony of media orchestrated debate.

In 2012, reporters from the Tamba Bay Times collated over 200 Stand Your Ground cases across the U.S and found that 15.6 percent of those homicides in which a white person killed a black person were deemed justifiable, compared to about 3.4 percent of homicides in which the perpetrator was black and the victim was white – (WJCT, Rhema Thompson, 2014).

Lucia McBath, the softly-spoken, god fearing mother or Jordan Davis, now turned vehement anti-gun campaigner, has called the Stand Your Ground law as ‘legalised lynching’, feeling it disproportionately targets young black men.
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Silver’s film shows very little anger; tears, yes. But what is perhaps most haunting is the, almost child-like nature of Dunn, his ascribed white privilege making it impossible for him to acknowledge any guilt and the almost ‘matter-of-fact’ nature of Jordan’s friends, who despite barely escaping with their lives on that fateful evening as bullets pierced their vehicle and pierced through the body of their friend, seem almost accepting that Black youth in America are viewed a certain way

“Thug is the new ‘N’ word. That’s how ‘they’ be pursuing us now ‘N’ word is out ‘thug’ is in. They don’t want to be seen, (pause), ‘wrong’ so they use ‘thug’ instead of the ‘N’ word”. – Tevin Thompson, friend of Jordan Davis, 3 ½ minutes Ten Bullets.

There are also moments of humor as the young friends reflect upon their friendship with Jordan; joined by the dead boy’s father, Ron Davis a retired Delta airlines employee, they eat burgers and discuss how bad he was at basketball but how he would still want to keep on playing in order to improve, “but he was just too fast for the ball!” – Tevin Thompson. Mr Davis, who has been divorced from Jordan’s mother for a number of years, mentions how Jordan was an athlete and should have done track or baseball. They all agree.
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Ron Davis and other fathers have bemoaned the fact that the women are often the voices heard and images portrayed whenever a tragedy such as the death of his son is played out in the media but remains a constant ally as both parents are unified in keeping the memory of their son alive and true. Youth from middle class America, existing far from the stereotypical lexicon of a crime riddled neighborhood, should not be in fear of flying bullets and Silver is careful in showing that these youth who are not from the concrete ghettos of America but from an environment of freshly cut lawns and regular jaunts to the nearby beach still do not escape the maelstrom of America’s racailised myopia.

“When I arrived in Jackosonville Fl, I was struck by how everyone drives everywhere. Hardly anyone walks! These two people just happened to meet at a petrol station and had an argument. An argument which lasted just 3 ½ minutes”. Marc Silver

This is a important and brave film on many levels and is a must watch as it makes America look at itself once again but perhaps more importantly it asks hard questions of the viewer. That initial feeling when faced with a group of young Black teenagers. What is the default emotion?

3 ½ minutes, Ten Bullets is in UK cinemas Now – check your local cinema for details.

The Kush Film Boutique hosted an exclusive screening of the documentary at the Regent Street Cinema – check out a snapshot of our event below:

article by Orvil Kunga  / @kungadred –  Orvil kunga founder of Welcome to Busseywood and Adrinkra Arts Collective

The Kush Film Boutique Is Back After 2 Years Away on 24 September

Marlon Palmer
13.08.15

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Yes we are back!
It has been two full years since we ended Film Boutique screenings and we are more than ready to hit the streets again and carry the torch; once again lighting up the path for the development and progression of urban films.

Formerly known as the Kush Film Cub and launched in 1998 to create a platform for independent black filmmakers the film club has gone on to screen over 200 films, many of which were UK premiere’s or exclusive film screenings – Kush Film Club members were some of the first in the UK to see films like: The Players Club, Crash, Romeo Must Die, Me, Myself & Irene, Coach Carter, The Original Kings Of Comedy, Ray, Four Brothers, Hustle & Flow, Baggage Claim and many more.

Members were also introduced to a plethora of new indie filmmakers and their short films which was screened before the main feature thus introducing the world of independent filmmaking and local talent to new audiences.

Kush has also played a part in highlighting various social causes and community development using film as a tool to organise numerous community events along with training courses aimed at highlighting and combating Gun & Knife Crime, Youth Development, Drug Addiction and Community Cohesion.

One of the elements of the Film Boutique this time around will be the superb networking opportunity before the evening’s films, our aim is to bring progressive forward-thinking media personnel, entrepreneurs, community leaders and of course filmmakers together on a regular basic to ponder on and conspire for progressive change thus creating new opportunities for all.

Kush: Making a Difference in the Community since 1998!

 

COME AND JOIN US ON OUR JOURNEY AND THE RELAUNCH OF THE RENOWNED
KUSH FILM BOUTIQUE.

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Kush Films is proud to announce the relaunch of the ‘Film Boutique’ at one of the oldest & prestigious cinemas in London the Regent Street Cinema with a UK exclusive screening of the powerful and poignant documentary film 3 ½ Minutes, 10 Bullets a film specifically chosen for these troubled times. #BlackLivesMatter

There will be great networking & press opportunities prior to the film plus a special guest panel discussion after the film with invited guest speakers from the fields of: Media, Music, Legal, Community & Politics., discussing the US Stand Your Ground Laws, young black men and rap music today, fear of young black men, black lives matter campaigns, deaths in UK police custody and the ongoing Mark Duggan police shooting case.

After film discussion facilitated by partners Choices Consortium.

Special Guest Host: actress Ms Ellen Thomas (Eastenders, Rev, Teachers) – tbc
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Date: Thurs 24th September 2015
Event starts: 7.00pm – Networking and Press

Film Starts: 8.25pm – 10.00pm

Panel Discussion: Fear of the young black male?: 10.00pm – 11.00pm

Invited Guest speakers: Stafford Scott (Race Advocacy Officer), Gwenton Sloley (Author, Youth Policy Adviser), Jon Hughes (Editor of Nigerian Watch Newspaper), Koby Hagan aka Post (CEO of Grmdaily.com), Christian Weaver (Young Social Commentator).

 

Tickets: £15 (*All tickets purchased through the Regent Street Cinema)
Book Here: http://www.regentstreetcinema.com/programme/3-12-minutes-ten-bullets/

More info on the film here:

Venue: Regent Street Cinema, 309 Regent Street, London, W1B 2UW
www.regentstreetcinema.com
Tel: 0207 911 5050

If you’re looking for nearby parking, try Q-Park, just 2 minutes’ walk away under Cavendish Square Gardens.

Also supported by: The Association of Black Probation Officers, Operation Black Vote (OBV) & The Voice Newspaper

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For more information on the film & further screenings please contact:
Kush Promotions & PR
Tel: 0208 618 2204 or 0203 070 3200
Email: info@kushfilms.com

For more info on our new partner organisation and the wider community work that they do
See: www.choicesconsortium.org

The official film website: http://www.3andahalfminutes.com/3.5MINUTES---Lucia_McBath

3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets Released in the UK October 2015

Written by Graeme Wood
14,07.15

 

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Taking the prestigious closing slot at the East End Film Festival recently in London was British director Marc Silver’s timely documentary “3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets”.

The East End festival is the UK’s largest film festival and was held in London over July 1st – 12th, the multi-platform festival had a prestigious list of premieres, screenings, live events and awards ceremony.

Silver’s riveting documentary tells the harrowing story of how on Black Friday 2012 (the day after the US Thanksgiving), four boys in a SUV became embroiled in an argument with the man in the car next to theirs. The man had asked the boys to turn their music down, just three and half minutes later, one of the boys was dead. This powerful documentary dissects the fallout of a terrible tragedy and contributes to the ongoing debate around the issue of how much black lives matter in today’s America.
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The documentary premiered at this year’s Sundance film festival and walked away with the Documentary Special Jury Award and Audience Award it will be broadcast on HBO later this year, following a limited theatrical release which includes the UK in October.

The altercation on Black Friday 2012 turned to tragedy when Michael Dunn, the white man who had argued with the boys regarding their music, fired 10 bullets at the unarmed boys, killing 17 year old Jordan Davis almost instantly. This documentary explores the danger and subjectivity of Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defence laws by weaving Dunn’s trial with a chorus of citizen and pundit opinions, and with Jordan Davis’ parents’ guiding the films narrative in and out of the courtroom.

In court Dunn’s lawyer claimed that Davis and his friends were dangerous, a characterization it was felt had more to do with the colour of the victim’s skin than anything he had said or did. The media hooked onto the fact that Davis and his friends were blasting ‘thug’ music or otherwise known as ‘hip-hop’ from their SUV at the time of the incident, a fact which seemed to clarify the racial undertones of the shooting.

More than half the sates in the US have passed ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, which allow a person to use deadly force, without obligation to retreat, when faced with a perceived physical threat of bodily harm. There was a widespread debate and focus on the law’s effects after the killing of Trayvon Martin in 2012. The controversy intensified with the subsequent acquittal of George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot and killed the unarmed teenager.

Silver was granted rare permission to stage a three-camera shoot during the Davis trial, bringing an unprecedented cinematic quality to the usually dry courtroom proceedings. The fact that Dunn is white and the teens African-American is central to understanding how events unfolded, however Michael_Dunn_3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bulletsno mention of race is allowed at the trial because the shooting was not classed as a ‘hate crime’. The surviving teens testimony and interview material reveal a group of average suburban kids interested in girls and basketball, but to Dunn they were gangster rappers hell-bent on his death and destruction. Dunn also claimed to have seen a shotgun in the car and that Davis directly threatened his life, although the police investigation found no weapons in the SUV or at the scene of the shooting.

Dunn and his family declined to be interviewed for the documentary but through his testimony, police interrogation and tapes of phone calls it becomes all too easy to dismiss Dunn as a racist or frightened fool but it must be remembered that Dunn would never have felt empowered to shoot his gun without the Stand Your Ground law to back his decision.

The jury in the trial were unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the charge of first degree murder and the Judge declared a mistrial on that count, Dunn was however convicted on three counts of 3andahalfminutesattempted second degree murder for firing at the three other teenagers who were with Davis in the car. Dunn’s retrial for first degree murder took place in September 2014 and he was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Silver issued the following statement when it was announced that HBO had purchased the rights to screen his documentary; “When we started this journey, our aim was to make sure that Jordan’s story was not going to be forgotten, that he would not become a statistic in an increasingly violent world. This is why we are so fortunate to be partnering with HBO and Participant Media for the distribution of “3 ½ Minutes”. We are now certain that Jordan’s story will reach the widest, most diverse audience possible”.

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Kush is currently negotiating with the distributor about an exclusive screening in Sept

Watch the trailer here: http://www.kushfilms.com/movie_reviews/3%C2%BD-minutes-10-bullets/