2017 Sundance Docs in Focus: TIME: THE KALIEF BROWDER STORY

A preview of the first two episodes of the new Spike TV docuseries examining a case of wrongful incarceration.

Festival Section:
Special Events

Sundance Program Description:

At 16, Kalief Browder was charged with stealing a backpack, then arrested in the Bronx. He proclaimed his innocence, fought the system, and in the face of torture and unthinkable circumstances, he prevailed. For this, Kalief became an American hero – but he paid with his life. In a groundbreaking six part docuseries, executive produced by Jay Z, TIME: THE KALIEF BROWDER STORY is an in-depth look at this harrowing story. Using illuminating interviews with world-renowned experts, celebrities, politicians, local officials, and survivors creates eye-opening nonfiction and humanizes the mechanical levers of justice while forcing Americans to reexamine the broken system. Utilizing multiple filmmaking techniques to create a unique and disruptive style, the series takes the viewer deeper and deeper into the perfect storm of the institutional failure that conspired to destroy Kalief Browder.

Some Background:
Director/Executive Producer:

  • Jenner Furst
    Past Sundance docs:

    WELCOME TO LEITH (2015, producer)

    Among Furst’s other notable producing credits are two docuseries: SundanceTV’s BRICK CITY and CNN’s CHICAGOLAND.


  • Michael Gasparro
    This is Gasparro’s first Sundance credit. He previously produced the narrative feature THE WANNABE, which Furst also produced.

Executive Producers:

  • Harvey Weinstein
    Past Sundance docs:


    Weinstein has been a regular presence at Sundance for decades, acquiring titles for The Weinstein Co and, before that, Miramax.

  • Shawn “Jay Z” Carter
    The celebrated musician previously co-executive produced the hybrid AN OVERSIMPLIFICATION OF HER BEAUTY (2012).

  • David C Glasser
    The Weinstein Co co-chairman previously executive produced the Sundance narrative features ASSASSINATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL PRESIDENT (2008) and NARC (2002).

  • Nick Sandow
    Sandow is best known for his work as an actor in ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK. He also wrote/directed THE WANNABE.

  • Julia Willoughby Nason
    Past Sundance docs:


    Nason also produced Furst’s narrative feature HOUSES, which was co-written and executive produced by Sandow.

Why You Should Watch:
Browder’s tragic story has drawn much-needed attention to the abuses of the criminal justice system, and, in particular, the injustices visited upon young African-American men. Sundance audiences will have an advance look at the first two episodes of the six-part series before its television broadcast brings the story – and the disturbing larger issues it underscores – to a wider audience.

More Info:

For Sundance screening dates and times, click the film title in the first paragraph.

To experience the festival through the eyes of this year’s filmmakers, follow my Sundance 2017 Twitter list.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Film Festivals, Recommendations, Sundance

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