Time: The Kalief Browder Story will debut its first two episodes at next year's Sundance Film Festival. The six-part Spike docuseries, directed by Jenner Furst and exec-produced by Jay Z, follows the real-life story of "American hero" Kalief Browder, who was arrested on false robbery charges at the age of 16 and imprisoned for three years with no conviction.
"We're the voice," Jay Z toldRolling Stone of the series' importance at a Manhattan news conference in October, shortly after inking a TV and movie deal with the Weinstein Company. "We're society. We affect change. We can change everything. ... Our voices are stronger than ever. If everyone in this room is like, 'I don't agree with this happening to a 16-year-old,' then it won't happen again. It's that simple."
Two years after being released from New York's notoriously violent Rikers Island jail complex in 2013, Browder sadly took his own life. After Browder's imprisonment was covered extensively in a profile for the New Yorker, the case quickly became a frequently noted example of why the nation's criminal justice system is in desperate need of reform.
Jay mentioned that profile during his October press conference, telling reporters it had moved him to reach out to Browder after his release. "In the movies, when this type of story is told, it ends differently," Jay said. "Then I got a call... telling me that Kalief had taken his own life. I was thrown. ...I was asking myself, man, this story doesn't end like this. It's not supposed to end this way. That's not how this story goes, not in the movies, not in real life."
The 2017 Sundance Film Festival takes place in Park City, Utah and runs from Jan. 19 to Jan. 29. The Time premiere will also include "an extended Q&A," though festival organizers haven't announced specifics. Click here for more information on screenings.