The “American Crime” creator is writing and directing a feature length documentary about the racial tensions in Los Angeles in the ’80s and early ’90s, pegged to the 25th anniversary of the Rodney King Riots.
The two-hour doc, “Let It Fall: LA 1982-1992,” will air on ABC in spring 2017.
The documentary will begin a decade before the Rodney King Riots and will culminate with the uprising, rioting, looting and gun violence the followed after the Rodney King case verdict. The project will showcase stories of individuals caught up in the tension, featuring interviews with diverse people of all communities that become involved at the time: black, white, Hispanic, Korean, Japanese Americans, plus police commanders, patrolmen and members of city government.
“With many of the films I’ve been a part of, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to take the past and make it present. For me, the documentary space is about allowing people who have lived history to tell their stories in their voices,” said Ridley in a statement. “Unlike many of us, there are some at the center of the Los Angeles uprising who cannot move on from the events of nearly 25 years ago. As we all still live with a number of the same issues that led to the uprising, they still live with a single event. What those individuals recall, and what they survived, urgently needs to be expressed.”
Ridley — known for his his Oscar-winning film “12 Years A Slave,” and his gritty, broadcast anthology series “American Crime,” which returns with its third season next year on ABC — is producing the L.A. doc with ABC News’ Lincoln Square Productions. He will be working with a team of ABC News journalists, including executive producer Jeanmarie Condon.
“John is committed to seeing the humanity in everyone on all sides of this story,” said Condon. “He has a unique way of looking at questions of race and class and conscience. We are all so humbled that the participants have entrusted us with their most personal and emotional memories of this time.”
“Let It Fall: LA 1982-1992” comes at a time of racial tensions across the United States, highlighted by the Black Lives Matter movements and multiple police shootings that have garnered national media attention and controversy. The documentary joins a growing trend of police brutality-centric TV projects, such as Fox’s “Shots Fired,” which will premiere next month at Sundance.
The doc is not Ridley’s only L.A. riots-themed project: he is also directing a film about the 1992 uprising, based on his own script and hailing from Imagine Entertainment.