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Oprah Winfrey has not only seen When They See Us — Ava DuVernay’s wrenching four-part limited series about the “Central Park Five” case — she’s tweeted about it and posted a series of raves on Instagram about DuVernay’s work and, in particular, the performances of stars Jharrel Jerome and Niecy Nash.
Now, DuVernay and her Netflix project have scored one of the biggest coups of Emmy season: Winfrey will moderate a “FYSEE” panel Sunday night featuring the “Exonerated Five,” DuVernay, the producers and the actors which will be recorded as a special to air on Winfrey’s OWN and Netflix on June 12. The event, to be held at Raleigh Studios in Los Angeles, closes out Netflix’s FYSEE series.
Appearing on stage will be actors Jerome, Nash, Michael K. Williams, Joshua Jackson, Asante Blackk, Caleel Harris, Ethan Herisse, Jovan Adepo, Chris Chalk, Freddy Miyares and Justin Cunningham, as well as executive producers Jane Rosenthal and Berry Welsh. After that panel, Winfrey will sit down with DuVernay and the Exonerated Five — Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana and Korey Wise.
The limited series, co-written and directed by DuVernay, presents the true story of the notorious case of five teenagers of color, aka the Central Park Five, who were convicted of a rape they did not commit. One of the men reached out to DuVernay on Twitter, a moment that kick-started the development of the project, which, in an interview with THR, Jerome says wouldn’t be what it is without DuVernay.
“Her talent is medicine for a lot of us,” he said. “We look up to Ava as someone who is telling a story that we can’t tell. We don’t have the means to yell and scream, and try to get out all of our anger, our resentment toward what we’re going through. But we can sit down and we can watch two hours of a project that Ava put together and say, ‘Yes, OK, I understand. We are at a good place, and we will keep fighting, and we will keep moving forward.’ “
FYSEE — Netflix’s impressive 32,000-square-foot For Your Consideration headquarters has hosted screenings, panels, events and receptions — has seen appearances by Martin Scorsese in conversation with Bruce Springsteen; Ellen DeGeneres with Jimmy Kimmel; David Letterman with Zach Galifianakis; Kevin Hart moderated by Chelsea Handler; Ken Jeong moderated by Cheryl Hines; and Adam Sandler with Paul Thomas Anderson.
Executive producers on When They See Us include Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King from Participant Media, Winfrey from her Harpo Films, and Jane Rosenthal, Berry Welsh and Robert De Niro from Tribeca Productions, alongside DuVernay through her Forward Movement. In addition to DuVernay, Attica Locke, Robin Swicord, Michael Starrbury and Julian Breece served as writers on the limited series.
Sunday night’s appearance by Winfrey won’t be her first on behalf of DuVernay’s work. She also showed up to the Apollo Theater-hosted premiere in New York City and took the stage.
The men known as The Central Park Five watched the press about them as kids. One said to me years ago, “I used to wish we could just get to Oprah and tell our story.” That time is now. On June 12, @Oprah will interview The Innocent 5. Airing on @OWNTV + @Netflix.#WhenTheySeeUs pic.twitter.com/uE4EMGYW0K
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) June 7, 2019
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