Tribeca 2018 Review: REST IN POWER: The Trayvon Martin StoryBy Dominga Martin
The Paramount Network debuts powerful docu-series about the senseless murder of Trayvon Martin
Brace for impact. Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story made it’s world premiere at the 17th Annual Tribeca Film Festival for the TV Line-up program. Filmmakers get straight to the point taking viewers to the onset of the frantic night of the murder, as told from the perspective of those who were present, including the Sanford Florida Police Officers and Trayvon’s parents Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin.
Executive Produced by Jay-Z, this film is raw and holds no punches. From the moment the documentary opens, we are present in the chaos, the heart-break and the immediate injustice that follows. Taped 9-1-1 calls from residents of this private, gated community are introduced after the murder, in addition to the voice of the cold and calculating George Zimmerman who racially profiled the 17 year old before senseless murdering Trayvon. Reenactments and real time footage take viewers to the scene of the crime.
Security footage of Trayvon’s last steps before his tragic demise, Zimmerman’s interrogation, and his walk through of the crime scene, escorted by police officers are just a few instances where we get to understand the imbalanced racial dynamics of this controversial story. In addition to being a fly on the wall we witness the nonchalant behavior of a psychopath who has no regret for the heinous crime he has just committed.
Similar to 48 Hours Crime Scene, viewers are taken on a step by step journey starting on the night of the Oscars. February 26, 2012. The night an unarmed Trayvon was fatally shot, by a neighborhood watchman (Zimmerman) who targeted people of color in his gated community.
The first episode paints a picture of Trayvon Martin, who was a typical American Teen that participated in after school activities like Aviation, where he was learning to fly a plane, in addition to football. Trayvon’s family share intimate moments about Trayvon, who was just a young adult on the verge of adulthood. A young man with great ambition who got into typical teen-age mischief.
Throughout the series, a cast of characters will be introduced including the Sanford police officers, Civil Rights attorney Benjamin Crump who came on board as the Martin Family Lawyer. Angela Corey, who was assigned to investigate the Trayvon Martin shooting on behalf of the state is introduced— she is known for her hard nosed, unfair approach in sentencing. For example — in 2011 she tried a 12 year old as an adult for murder.
Viewers are brought into the moment this story touched the hearts of Black America, sparking the #blacklivesmatter movement. We are there for every moment and the truth is hard to hear.
As an audience member, I can say we all collectively held our breath and felt the struggle as Trayvon’s mother sunk into deep depression. We also felt her strength rising when Benjamin Crump gave her an ultimatum: “To grieve or fight?” Sabrina chose to fight, and this episode, although just the first, shows her evolution into the warrior mother, fighting for the rights of her son, who was tragically murdered, only to have his killer set free in a world where the justice system has cards stacked against people of color. It is gut-wrenching, yet you can’t turn away.
I wasn’t sure if I was ready to watch this film, however, I am anticipating the series.
The Paramount Networks debuts REST IN POWER this summer. July 2018. 6 episodes.
Executive Producers: Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Michael Gasparro, Nick Sandow, Sybrina Fulton, Tracy Martin, Chachi Senior. Co-Producer Attika Torrence. Co-Directors: Julia Willoughby Nason and Jenner Furst.