Screened as part of NZIFF 2007

The Trials of Darryl Hunt 2006

Directed by Ricki Stern, Annie Sundberg

Riveting chronicle of a 20-year struggle to free an innocent black man of the 1984 rape and murder of a white woman in North Carolina – a racially charged crime which divided the community.

USA In English
106 minutes DigiBeta


William Rexer II
John Foster
Alan Jacobsen
Shannon Kennedy


Shannon Kennedy


Paul Brill


Sundance 2006


Advocacy cinema at its most powerful, this riveting chronicle of a 20-year struggle to free an innocent man of a crime he didn’t commit will resonate with local audiences in the wake of recent high profile cases. Directors Ricki Stern and Anne Sundberg (The Devil Came on Horseback) first filmed Darryl Hunt’s case in the mid 90s, a decade after his 1984 conviction for the rape and murder of Deborah Sykes of North Carolina. That first trial was a textbook case of incompetence, hampered by poor physical evidence, unreliable witnesses and botched police work. To make matters worse, Hunt was a black man convicted of assaulting a white woman. To his credit, he remains a gentle, polite and forgiving soul throughout his terrible ordeal. A moving testament to the individuals who worked so hard, and for so long, to free an innocent man.

“[The film]sketches a quietly damning portrait of a… community divided by a horrific crime and its racially charged aftermath with a laserlike intensity that will have audiences’ blood boiling.” — Justin Chang, Variety