*”TIME: The Kalief Browder Story” is a compelling, six-part documentary event series that tells the story of a young African-American male who spent three years on Rikers Island without ever being convicted of a crime.
Browder was a 16-year old high school student from the Bronx walking home from a party when he was arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack. He spent three years in jail awaiting trial; two of those years in solitary confinement. The case never went to trial and the chargers were ultimately dropped. After his release from Rikers Island, he took his own life.
EUR/Electronic Urban Report was on hand during the Spike TV portion of the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association Press Tour on January 13, where Kalief’s sister Nicole Browder spoke about reliving her brother’s final days for the documentary.
“This is extremely hard for me and for my family,” she said. “When we were approached with this, I said, immediately, yes because Kalief always told me, “Nobody’s ever going to tell my story. Nobody cares.” And I would say, “Well, you never know, Kalief. You know, you never know.” He didn’t believe that nobody would ever listen to him.”
Produced by Nick Sandow, Julia Nason and Jenner Furst, who also directed the project, ‘Browder‘ will take a comprehensive look at his story using first-person accounts, archival footage, and cinematic recreations of key scenes from his life to present a definitive narrative of the shocking story that became a symbolic touchstone for criminal justice activism and reform.
“When I was approached by Jenner and I was approached by Nick and Julia, I felt that this is his dream,” Nicole said. “Though he’s not here, I have to, you know — us, as a family, have to push through and do what he would want if he was here. So when they approached me, I was really, you know, sad. But also, I felt that this story needed to be told.”
Jenner Furst noted how “this is a national story,” and that what happened to Kalief’s family “is not just about New York City.”
She added: “I think there’s a moment right now — there’s a window open, a door open that we could all walk through and utilize this harrowing tale that really grabs you by the heart and by the soul to take a deeper look at our criminal justice system and change it. And I think that’s what we’re hoping to do, and I think that’s what it has the potential to do once people see it.”
“I think that, you know, the simple fact that it’s Jay Z and Harvey Weinstein and the Weinstein Company who have stood behind this work, and then you add Spike and Viacom to that and the potential to reach a hundred million homes, it’s truly remarkable,” said Furst during TCA.
“And it’s unprecedented for a project of this social depth to have an audience like that, and we’re humbled and honored to be in this situation. I think Sundance adds a great deal of attention to the work and something we’re blessed to have and grateful to have. But when you think of the partners behind it and how many homes, how many eyes, people can actually absorb this story now, it’s truly remarkable.”
“TIME: The Kalief Browder Story” will premiere on Spike TV on March 1.
Watch the trailer below: