New York Demands The Unthinkable: To See Footage Cut From A Ken Burns Documentary

Ken Burns, aside from his haircut, is known for his documentary films. His documentary films, meanwhile, are known for being long, detailed and slow. So if a bit of raw footage winds up on the cutting room floor, it’s safe to assume it wasn’t even slightly interesting. But the city of New York has filed a subpoena for that detritus exactly.

At issue is a finished Burns film, The Central Park Five, which recounts the city’s wrongful imprisonment and eventual exoneration of five men for a brutal rape in 1989. New York, facing millions in lawsuits from a few of those five, wants to see the plaintiff interviews in their entirety. But surely they know all the interesting stuff will be in the final edit, right?

Whatever, City of New York. Knock yourself out with that 800 hours of B-roll and improperly focused close-ups. I’m sure that’ll help your case against charges to which you’ve already basically copped. You always were a glutton for punishment, yeah? Sit down at some outdated computer in a dim governmental basement and plow through all this video with a family-size bag of Cheetos close at hand. You’ve earned it.  

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

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