Betrayal at Attica
On September 13, 1971 the State of New York shot and killed 39 of its own citizens, injured hundreds more, and tortured the survivors. The events at Attica Prison have been told and retold, but evidence of the premeditation and planning has always been kept behind closed doors - until now.
Elizabeth Fink, attorney for Attica Brothers Legal Defense, is our guide to the missing context of the era. In her ﬁnal interview, ﬁlmed one month before she passed away at age 70, Fink describes the discovery of a cache of evidence from Attica that was hidden by the State of New York for decades. In the collection are hundreds of photographs, including autopsy records, clear depictions of torture by State troopers, and over an hour of on-scene footage shot by a Corrections Oﬃcer with an early video camera. This material was used by Fink in Attica related cases over the years and it is the foundation of Betrayal at Attica.
Fink was also a major source for Heather Ann Thompson’s book Blood in the Water, Pulitzer Prize winner for History in 2017. Thompson drew from the same archival resources presented in Betrayal at Attica and came to a similar conclusion: that Attica laid the philosophical and legal groundwork for a racebased theory of criminality designed to destabilize and incarcerate the very people who were calling for changes to our American system.
As we approach the 50th anniversary of the bloody events at Attica state prison, and struggle with the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd, a scorched Earth approach to history is necessary to create lasting change.
Betrayal at Attica presents this history as an unvarnished truth that must be reckoned with before we can heal this nation.
Documentaries / Unscripted
Josh Bishop, Shiloh Crawford III, Morgan Foley, Michael Hull, Laura Tillem
1 x 48' mins