For the parents of Jordan Davis and the filmmakers who documented their teenage son’s murder, the Sundance Film Festival ended with two big wins and one big hug.
“3 1/2 Minutes” premiered Jan. 24 at the annual festival in Utah. The film was named after the length of time of the deadly confrontation between Jordan and Michael Dunn. A confrontation that started over loud rap music and ended with Dunn firing 10 shots into the car Davis was in at a Southside gas station.
The film received a series of positive reviews and played to packed theaters. But until this weekend, it was unclear how many people outside of Sundance would see it.
HBO announced Saturday it bought the television rights to the documentary. Rolling Stone magazine said the cable channel would air the movie after its theatrical release.
Saturday night, the film received the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact.
Juror Michele Norris said the film invites viewers to consider the question of why young black men are so often the objects of fear.
Dunn said he feared for his life because he thought he saw a gun in the car Jordan was in with friends. Police never found a gun.
Producer Minette Nelson said in 2013, she and director Marc Silver began a film and a friendship with Jordan’s parents, Ron Davis and Lucia McBath.
“What they went through, no parent should have to go through and I hope will never have to go through again,” Nelson said.
McBath said she always wanted her son’s life to matter. “I prayed many prayers, many nights for that,” she said.
“But I never would have imagined that Jordan’s life, as well as his death, would mean so much to so many people,” McBath said. “(That) it would change the consciousness and prick the souls of our nation.”
Davis said he didn’t know when he hugged his son at 2:30 p.m. on Black Friday in 2012, it would be the last conversation he would have with him.
Then Davis cautioned the audience: “So when you hug your sons and your nephews, understand they may not come home.”
He said he was there to stand up for children not tolerated by the system or by people who “want to use their guns in a terrible, terrible manner.”
Davis described “3 1/2 Minutes” as an idea, a movement and a call to action.
Then, three times in a row, he chanted a familiar cry associated with his son’s death: “Black lives matter. Black lives matter. Black lives matter.”
As the audience applauded, the filmmakers and the parents who became friends hugged each other in a circle filled with pride, sadness and love.