A new, chilling documentary called “Strong Island” sheds light on a horrifying murder, a failing justice system, and one family’s fight for justice for 24-year old William Ford. Director and producer Yance Ford, the deceased’s brother, spent ten years researching the 1992 murder of William, according to People; the young schoolteacher was shot and killed by a white teen who was never prosecuted for the crime.
The documentary, narrated by Yance, focuses not on the killer who remained a free man, but the family grieving for William. “Strong Island’s” trailer features a montage of the family’s interviews in the film, which highlights the anger and heartbreak over William’s treatment by police after his death. “The police turned my brother into the prime suspect in his own murder,” says William’s sister. The blatant racism in the aftermath of William’s murder was one of the main reasons justice was never served. As People notes, the film is a celebration and reclamation of William’s memory, along with a thoughtful, unflinching statement on racism in the United States.
“Strong Island” has already received critical praise and several accolades, including the Special Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and also snagged a nomination for the highly coveted Grand Jury Prize. The documentary also won a Jury Prize at the Frameline San Franciscio International LGBTQ Film Festival, the Center for Documentary Studies and Charles E. Guggenheim awards at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, and the Bruce Sinofsky Prize at the Montclair Film Festival. After its public premiere, it’s sure to gain even more recognition.
“Strong Island” premieres Sept. 15 on Netflix. Watch the trailer below.