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3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets

Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival 2015.
U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Social Impact, Sundance.
Broadcast on HBO.
Shortlisted for an Academy Award.
Nominated for an Emmy.

Variety ‘tight & accomplished on all levels
Indiewire ‘beyond underscoring the tragedy of this singular incident, the film points to a broader issue, highlighting the gaping holes of the United States’ justice system and a timely spotlight on the enduring racism that still courses through the country’s legal and cultural veins
Salt Lake Tribune ‘arftully shot and deftly edited, Silver’s documentary has the artistry and pacing of a courtroom thriller

On Black Friday 2012, four middle-class African-American law-abiding teenagers stopped at a gas station to buy gum and cigarettes. One of them, Jordan Davis, argued with Michael Dunn, a white man parked beside them, over the volume of music playing in their car. The altercation turned to tragedy when Dunn fired 10 bullets at the unarmed boys, killing Davis almost instantly. The seamlessly constructed, riveting documentary film 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets explores the danger and subjectivity of Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense laws by weaving Dunn’s trial with a chorus of citizen and pundit opinions, and with Jordan Davis’ parents’ wrenching experiences in and out of the courtroom.

While Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown’s stories join a wretched, enduring cycle in the American social narrative, 3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets portrays Davis’s murder and its aftermath as anything but generic. Instead, the intimate camera particularizes each character as singular, as if to say: The more we see each other as human beings, the less inevitable will be violent outcomes from racial bias and disparate cultures colliding.