While the forthcoming crime documentary Strong Island, debuting on Netflix in September, does attempt to answer long-lingering questions about a 1992 killing on Long Island, New York, the film is not focused on catching a killer.
Rather, the highly-personal directorial debut from Yance Ford chronicles the loss that shattered his family in the 20-plus years since his brother, a black 24-year-old teacher named William Ford Jr., was allegedly gunned down by a white 19-year-old who was never brought to trial.
The film is also a poetic rumination on race in America that simultaneously celebrates — and reclaims — William’s memory.
“A deeply intimate and meditative film, Strong Island asks what one can do when the grief of loss is entwined with historical injustice,” Netflix said in a statement of the film, “and how one grapples with the complicity of silence, which can bind a family in an imitation of life, and a nation with a false sense of justice.”
PEOPLE is exclusively debuting the trailer for Strong Island above.
The film is narrated by Yance Ford, who produced along with Joslyn Barnes and co-producer Signe Byrge Sørensen. Actor Danny Glover, Susan Rockefeller, Tony Tabatznik, Michel Merkt and Laura Poitras executive produced.
Ford spent 10 years working on the documentary, even hiring private investigators to assist him in tracking down the detectives who handled his brother’s homicide as well as the prosecutor who unsuccessfully presented the case to an all-white grand jury for indictment.
Speaking to PEOPLE, Ford says he hopes Strong Island gets people thinking about ways to amend the criminal justice system.
“I look forward to having a lot of really vigorous conversations about the film,” he says, “and I welcome them all.”
Strong Island will premiere on Netflix on Sept. 15.