Part of Netflix’s success is due to the fact that the streaming giant has found several unique niches to focus on. While the Netflix library is full of mass appeal sitcoms and dramas, there are also whole sections of exclusive anime series and films, stand up comedy specials, and retro reboots that set Netflix apart from its competitors. Aside from these, one of Netflix’s most successful genres has been the true crime documentary. Following the critical acclaim of true crime docuseries and films like The Keepers, Making a Murderer, and Casting JonBenet, Netflix has just released a trailer for its latest true crime series called Strong Island.
Strong Island examines the murder of filmmaker Yance Ford’s brother William Ford, and the judicial system many claim allowed the killer to go free. The film delves headfirst into issues of institutionalized racism in the American justice and penal systems and challenges viewers to re-think common conceptions of criminality and justice. The film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival where it won a U.S. Documentary Jury Award, and was warmly received at the Berlin and True/False film festivals.
In a Netflix press release announcing the film, Ford says Netflix’s reach makes it the perfect vehicle to share his brother’s story with the world in the hopes that it might one day save someone else from his same fate:
Because Netflix is a global platform, Strong Island will be seen by communities around the world who are dealing with the issues that are unpacked on screen. It’s my hope that this film will offer some a way to make sense of their own experience, and others a new way of seeing. Nothing comes close to describing how astonishing it is for me, that the world will in some measure come to know my brother.
Like other Netflix true crime documentaries, the film mixes interviews, archival material, and personal stories in order to flesh out a portrait of William Ford and allow his family to tell their own story, something they say the justice system did not allow them to do.
Strong Island premieres exclusively on Netflix on September 15.