Study Guide

Central Park Five

The Story | People | Artists | Art Forms | Enrichment Activities


Pre-show Activities

PRE-SCREENING QUESTIONS
What is a documentary film? Describe one that you have seen.
How is a documentary film different from a fictional film?
What do you think a social-issue documentary film is?
What goals does a filmmaker working in this style have?
What persuasive strategies could a filmmaker working in this style use?
What challenges does a filmmaker working in this style confront?
What obligations does a filmmaker working in this style have?

AN INTRODUCTION: CRITICAL ANALYSIS AND VIEWING ACTIVITY

Prepare for the complicated case behind the Central Park Five through a review of an extended summary and video preview.

THE SCALES OF JUSTICE: EXPLORATORY ACTIVITY

Create a word blast. Brainstorm with the class to come up with words, images, people, and associations linked to thematic words or topics.


Post-show Activities

POST-SCREENING QUESTIONS
What do you think the goals of the filmmakers were?
How did the filmmakers use camera angles, shots, music, and sound to set the tone of the film?
Were there attempts to persuade?
If so, what did the filmmakers want viewers to think and to feel?
Were factual claims made?
Could you tell what the sources for the factual claims were?
Do you think the subjects of the film trusted the filmmakers? Why or why not?
What impact do you think this film had on the lives of the subjects?
What impact do you think this film had on the NYPD and the district attorneys?
Can activism be combined with documentary filmmaking without compromising it?

WHERE ARE WE NOW?: WRITING ACTIVITY

Review with students the policy of Stop and Frisk.

UNDERSTANDING THE PROBLEM: RESEARCH ACTIVITY

Examine the issues of false confessions, false accusations, Miranda rights, transfer laws, or adjudication.

JOURNALISTIC CODE OF ETHICS: SMALL GROUP ACTIVITY

Review the Journalistic Codes of Ethics and its relation to the incidents surrounding the Central Park Five.

ROUND TABLE: DISCUSSION ACTIVITY

Lead the class through a discussion based on PBS’ "Central Park Five Discussion Guide."

TAKING ACTION: VIDEO ACTIVITY

Craft a short video with the goal of raising awareness about the issue at hand using the following protocol.