On November 23, 2012, Jordan Davis, a black 17-year-old, and three friends drove into a gas station in Jacksonville, Fla. Davis and his friends got into a verbal altercation with white 45-year-old Michael Dunn, who took issue with the volume of the teenagers’ rap music.
When Davis refused to turn down the music, Dunn opened fire on the car of unarmed teenagers. He fired 10 bullets, three of which hit Davis, who died at the scene. Dunn fled, but was taken into custody the next day. He claimed that he shot in self-defense.
Filmed over a period of 18 months, 3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets, intercuts intimate scenes with Davis’ family and friends with footage from Michael Dunn’s trial and police interrogation, news reports, and prison phone recordings between Dunn and his fiancée. Drawing on 200 hours of footage, the documentary aims to reconstruct the night of the murder, delving into the intricate web of racial prejudice in 21st century America and how such prejudices can result in tragedy.
3 ½ Minutes, Ten Bullets also details the journey of Jordan Davis’ parents from grief to activism, and explores public opinion on Florida’s “Stand Your Ground Law.”
Director Marc Silver is particularly interested in examining the varying perceptions of Davis in life and death. “I was drawn to Jordan Davis’ story because it appeared to be the perfect storm of racial profiling, access to guns and laws that give people the confidence to use those guns with no sense of duty to retreat from the situation,” he says.
The documentary made its world premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, where it won a Special Jury Award for Social Impact.