Press Release

‘The Central Park Five’

February 19, 2019 – by Cole Hatcher

Author, Filmmaker Sarah Burns to Screen, Discuss Documentary March 5 at Ohio Wesleyan University

DELAWARE, Ohio – Rescheduled from January, author and filmmaker Sarah Burns will screen and discuss her award-winning documentary “The Central Park Five” on March 5 at Ohio Wesleyan University.

The film explores the lives of five black and Latino teenagers wrongly convicted of raping and beating a white jogger in 1989 in New York City. The young men each spent between six and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed that he alone had committed the near-fatal crime.

Burns will sign books at 6:30 p.m. and screen her documentary at 7 p.m. in the Benes Rooms of Ohio Wesleyan’s Hamilton-Williams Campus Center, 40 Rowland Ave., Delaware. The free screening will be followed by an audience question-and-answer session.

Burns co-directed the documentary with her father, Ken Burns, and husband, David McMahon. The film is based on her book, “The Central Park Five: The Untold Story Behind One of New York City’s Most Infamous Crimes”

“The Central Park Five” documentary debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012. It has since been named the Best Non-Fiction film of 2012 by the New York Film Critics Circle and won a 2013 Peabody Award. The Los Angeles Times called the film, “a careful, thoughtful documentary that meticulously re-creates what happened on that night and details how and why everything went so terribly off-course.”

The Ohio Wesleyan event is the university’s 2019 Butler A. Jones Lecture on Race and Society sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Social Justice Program. The event is presented with the following OWU departments, programs, and offices: Journalism and Communication, Modern Foreign Languages, Film Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Black World Studies, Philosophy, Multicultural Student Affairs, and President’s Office.

The lecture was established in 1995 in honor of Jones, Ph.D., a former sociology/anthropology faculty member. In contributing to the quest for equality among races, Jones submitted 10 briefs to the U.S. Supreme Court in cases involving equal treatment of all citizens. Learn more at www.owu.edu/soan.


Founded in 1842, Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier liberal arts universities. Located in Delaware, Ohio, the private university offers more than 90 undergraduate majors and competes in 25 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Through Ohio Wesleyan’s signature OWU Connection program, students integrate knowledge across disciplines, build a diverse and global perspective, and apply their knowledge in real-world settings. Ohio Wesleyan is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives” and included in the U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review “best colleges” lists. Learn more at www.owu.edu.