Cleveland International Film Festival } March 30 – April 10, 2022

Down a Dark Stairwell

Year: 2020
Country: UNITED STATES
Run Time: 83 minutes

Down a Dark Stairwell
Down a Dark Stairwell
Down a Dark Stairwell

In November 2014, Akai Gurley, an unarmed Black man, was shot and killed by a police officer while walking down a dark stairwell in Brooklyn’s New York City Housing Authority Pink Houses. Peter Liang, a Chinese-American officer, was the person who shot the innocent Gurley, citing an “accidental discharge.” An all-too-familiar case of police violence against Black Americans became something different in the public eye due to Liang’s race. When he was the first cop to be convicted of manslaughter since 2005, some Chinese-American activists cried foul and rallied for Liang, insisting he was a victim of the same racist system that killed Gurley. Along with a multiracial coalition of activists, the Gurley family pushed against this narrative; someone needed to be held accountable for Gurley’s murder. Ursula Liang’s (no relation to Peter) journalistic documentary lends an empathic ear to two New York communities, both marginalized in different ways, as they navigate an uneven justice system. A nuanced look at this highly polarizing tragedy, DOWN A DARK STAIRWELL balances difficult conversations about race, justice, and organizing in hopes of better defining the ever-elusive concept of solidarity. — D.O.

CIFF45 Screenings

On Demand

Thursday, April 08, 2021 at 11:00 AM -
Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 11:59 PM

Access: United States and US Territories
Accessibility (?)
Closed Captions: Yes
Audio Description: No
English Subtitles: No

Related Event
Filmmaker Conversation: Q&A

Sidebars
Black Cinema
Pan-Asian Cinema

Competitions
ReelWomenDirect Award for Excellence in Directing by a Woman
Greg Gund Memorial Standing Up Competition

Director

Director
Ursula Liang

Producers
Ursula Liang, Rajal Pitroda

Cinematography
Ursula Liang, Rachel Lears, Justin Ervin, Brian Chu, Derek Howard, Lyric R. Cabral, Asad Faruqi, Jason Chau, Tinx Chan, Vanessa Carr, Nelson Walker III, Nausheen Dadabhoy

Editing
Michelle Chang, J.M. Harper

Film Contact

Community Partners

Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, The

OCA Greater Cleveland - Asian Pacific American Advocates

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