Filmmakers Sarah Burns and David McMahon Screen Their Acclaimed Film ‘The Central Park Five’

Filmmakers Sarah Burns and David McMahon will screen and discuss their film The Central Park Five on Wednesday, May 1, at 7 p.m. in the Hyman Forum of Goucher College’s Athenaeum. The film tells the story of a highly publicized rape in New York’s Central Park in 1989 and the five black and Latino teenagers whose lives were upended by their wrongful conviction.

Two members of the Central Park Five, Raymond Santana Jr. and Korey Wise, will also join the discussion. Santana served eight years, and Wise served 11-and-a-half years for a crime they did not commit. Their convictions raise questions regarding police coercion and false confessions, as well as the vulnerability of juveniles during police interrogations.

This event is free and open to the public. To reserve tickets, call 410-337-6333 or visit

In addition to the screening on Goucher’s campus, Burns and McMahon will screen and discuss the film with Goucher College students enrolled through the Goucher Prison Education Partnership (GPEP), operating at two of Maryland’s state prisons.

In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers from Harlem were arrested and later convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park. They spent between six and 13 years in prison before a serial rapist confessed that he alone had committed the crime, resulting in their convictions being overturned.

Set against a backdrop of a city beset by violence and racial tension, The Central Park Five tells the story of that horrific crime, the rush to judgment by the police, a media clamoring for sensational stories, an outraged public, and the five lives upended by this miscarriage of justice.

McMahon and Burns co-produced, -directed, and -wrote The Central Park Five with filmmaker Ken Burns. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012.

Screenings are co-sponsored by the Goucher College departments of Political Science, Sociology and Anthropology, and Communication and Media Studies; the Africana Studies Program; and the Goucher Prison Education Partnership. The event was made possible thanks to support from the Goucher College Isabelle Kellogg Thomas Lectureship and the generosity of the filmmakers.

The Goucher Prison Education Partnership


The Goucher Prison Education Partnership (GPEP) gives men and women incarcerated in Maryland the opportunity to pursue an excellent college education. GPEP offers Goucher College courses to students at the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women (MCIW) and the Maryland Correctional Institution – Jessup (MCIJ). Courses are supplemented with enrichment opportunities, regular study halls, and non-credit classes for students preparing for college work.

More than 60 GPEP students are enrolled in nine classes this semester, including Academic Writing, Algebra II, The Sociological Imagination, Chinese Philosophy, and Introduction to Theater. In courses at the two prisons, students are held to the rigorous academic standards for which Goucher is known. Courses are taught on site by Goucher College faculty as well as by outstanding professors from nearby colleges and universities.

The Goucher Prison Education Partnership is made possible through a unique partnership between Goucher College, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, the MCIW College Degree Program, the Consortium for the Liberal Arts in Prison, the Open Society Foundations and with the support of generous individual and foundation donors.

For more information about GPEP or to become involved, contact Program Director Amy Roza at

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