National Geographic Documentary Films presents “LA 92,” a riveting look back at the controversial Rodney King trial and subsequent protests, violence and looting of the city. Viewed from a multitude of vantage points through visceral and rarely seen archival footage, the film brings a fresh perspective to a pivotal moment that reverberates to this day.
Using no narration or talking head interviews, the filmmakers decided to take a bold approach: to reconstruct the tumultuous events that unfolded in 1992 by exclusively using archival footage and photographs. Culling thousands of hours of visceral broadcast news footage, radio reports, police files and personal home videos – some of which have never been broadcast – the filmmakers tell the story through a variety of different points of view and perspectives and set it all to a rich orchestral score composed by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans.
Produced by Lightbox’s two-time Academy Award winner Simon Chinn (“Man on Wire”) and Emmy winner Jonathan Chinn (“American High”) with Academy Award-winning directors Dan Lindsay and TJ Martin (“Undefeated”), and featuring original music from Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans (“OA,” “Enemy”), “LA 92” premiered at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, April 21. Following the premiere at Tribeca, the film completed a multi-city screening tour including Baltimore; Charlotte; St. Louis; Washington, D.C.; and Atlanta. Additionally, a limited theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles began Friday, April 28, and “LA 92” made its television broadcast debut on National Geographic on Sunday, April 30.
In an effort to further the national dialogue on the topic, National Geographic has made “LA 92” available for FREE through online, video on demand and streaming platforms.
“National Geographic believes in the power of storytelling to change the world,” explained Tim Pastore, president of original programming and production for National Geographic. “The parallels between the racially charged climate of Los Angeles in 1992 and more recent occurrences of racial injustice demands our attention. We hope this film will encourage reflection and debate as the country wrestles with these very real and very relevant conflicts.”
“LA 92” is being made widely available today through May 11 on streaming platforms including Natgeotv.com, video on demand (through cable provider set-top boxes), cable provider sites and apps, Nat Geo TV apps (iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, Roku, Android phones and tablets, Xbox One and 360, Samsung Connected TVs), iTunes, Hulu, YouTube, Facebook, Amazon, Sony Playstation, GooglePlay and more.
You can watch the full 2-hour film embedded below.
“LA 92” features never-before-seen and rarely used footage from the Los Angeles First AME Church, which supported many victims of the violence; materials from the Los Angeles police and fire departments; and video from contemporaneous news broadcasts from LA-based Korean-language television stations.
The film captures the shock, disappointment and fury felt by many Angelenos, particularly those in the African American community, following the outcomes of two back-to-back, highly publicized trials. In November 1991, a Korean convenience store owner who was convicted of fatally shooting African-American teenager Latasha Harlins was given no jail time by a white Los Angeles judge. Six months later, four police officers caught on videotape brutally beating unarmed black motorist Rodney King were acquitted of assault by a predominantly white Simi Valley jury.
“We come from a cinema verite background and as such, we are always striving to find ways to let the footage speak for itself,” said directors Martin and Lindsay, who also edited the film. “Our intent was to fully immerse viewers in a raw and unfiltered experience in order to challenge their understanding of the civil unrest, both emotionally and intellectually.”
Immerse yourself in the film which is embedded below in full: