3½ Minutes, Ten Bullets

Bertha Journalism


Marc Silver


Marc Silver


Production support

Went to Good Pitch


3 ½ minutes and ten bullets. One unarmed boy is dead. 3 ½ Minutes dissects the shooting death of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, the aftermath of this systemic tragedy and contradictions within the American criminal justice system.

Long Synopsis

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving November 2012, four boys in a red SUV pull into a gas station after a day at the mall buying sneakers and rapping to girls. With music blasting, one boy exits the car and enters the store – a quick pit stop for a soda and a pack of gum. A man and a woman pull up next to the boys in the station, also making a pit stop for a bottle of wine. The woman enters the store and an argument breaks out when the driver of the second car calls the music “thug music” and tells the boys to turn it down.

3 ½ minutes and ten bullets later, one of the boys is dead.

3 ½ Minutes dissects the shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis and the aftermath of this tragedy. It intimately documents anger and lives undone. After a brief verbal interaction, an unarmed boy was killed and his parents were left with an incalculable loss and the contradictions within the American criminal justice system. This film probes the ambiguities of the Stand Your Ground statute used by the shooter, Michael Dunn, along with the pervasive sense of fear that makes Stand Your Ground such an unsettling path of exoneration.

The film follows the ’David V Goliath’ journey of a mother and father trying to make sense of their son’s murder by dedicating themselves to changing the law. Asking to be heard. Demanding change. Challenging a judicial system that now must consider a perceived threat as justification for a violent response and even death. Jordan’s parents, Ron Davis and Lucia McBath, were forced into the glare of publicity after losing their son. 3 ½ Minutes will craft a poignant narrative as their grief turns to purpose, as they become truly engaged citizens. Both parents are working to create a legacy for their son in the form of a national dialogue about guns and race in America. Lucy becomes a spokeswoman for various anti gun advocacy groups while Ron struggles with the multi generational judgment of young black men. The film intimately chronicles their experiences on this journey as they find their own ways of remaining parents to their son, even in his absence. Lucy brings a long familial history of civil rights that seems to chart her course for her. Ron grapples with how his best intentions couldn’t protect his son from systemic bigotry and ubiquitous concealed weapon carriers.

The defendant, Michael Dunn, is represented by a pro-gun criminal lawyer in a slight reversal of the David v Goliath story that Jordan Davis' parents face outside the courtroom. At the helm of the prosecution is Florida State Attorney Angela Corey, the same attorney who could not reach a guilty verdict for Trayvon Martin's parents. Corey and the state are determined not to let this one slip through their fingers. But as the Zimmerman verdict proved, there is no predicting a jury.

3 ½ Minutes exposes America’s gun culture, structural racism and the powers behind a legal process that could too easily override justice.