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‘Strong Island,’ about 1992 LI killing, coming to Netflix

A still of a family photo from the

A still of a family photo from the documentary "Strong Island." Credit: Cinetic Media

“Strong Island,” a documentary about a 1992 killing in Central Islip, has been acquired by Netflix.

The film, which will play theatrically and on the streaming service this coming fall, has already been a hit at such festivals as Sundance, Berlin and the True/False documentary festival.

“Strong Island” tells the story of William Ford Jr., a 24-year-old African-American who was shot by Mark Reilly, a white car mechanic, during a dispute over repairs. “Although Ford was unarmed, he became the prime suspect” in his own killing, according to a news release from Netflix. Mark Reilly did not face charges. The film tackles issues of “historical injustice, and how one grapples with the complicity of silence,” according to Netflix. The film’s director, Yance Ford, is the victim’s sibling; she was 19 at the time of the killing.

“Because Netflix is a global platform, ‘Strong Island’ will be seen by communities around the world,” the filmmaker said in a statement. “It’s my hope that this film will offer some a way to make sense of their own experience, and others a new way of seeing.”

Following its Sundance premiere, “Strong Island” drew a glowing review from The New Yorker, which called it “a brave, revealing film.”

“Strong Island” also plays Sunday in Manhattan at the New Directors/New Films series presented by The Museum of Modern Art and The Film Society of Lincoln Center.


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